How Life Leaves a Mark



“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.” — James Allen

We don’t get away unscathed.   As we make our way through life, life leaves its marks.  The marks we bear can make our lives deeper and more meaningful.  Or they can sour our view, and make us bitter and cold.  It’s all in how we respond.

The hurts, the scars, the wounds weave part of our story.

In the book, It’s Not About You, by Bob Burg and John David Mann, the authors share insight into how to use your pain to lead a richer life, and to avoid turning cold.

We are Not Unblemished

Life happens.  We get scraped along the way.  Life leaves a mark.  Burg and Mann write:

“‘It shows dear,’ she said gently.  ‘Life leaves a mark.  None of us passes through the experience of our days unblemished or pristine.  We all suffer tragedies and disappointments, struggles and failures.  Losses great and small, and every one of them hurts.  Life leaves a mark,’ she repeated.”

Embrace Who We Are

You can lead a richer life, or you can harden your heart and become jaded.  To lead a richer life, don’t deny your pain.  Instead, embrace it.  Burg and Mann write:

“‘We can try to cover it up, although if we do, we just tend to grow bitter on the inside.  Or we can embrace who we are — that is, who we are in the process of becoming.  Embrace the hurt and it deepens you, makes you a richer person.  Deny it, reject it, hold it at bay, fight it off, and it simply hardens you.  Either way, it engraves itself onto your soul.'”

Photo by MzPromise.


  1. It takes a strong person to be true to yourself.
    I believe that it is the greatest source of strength.

    Great article J.D.

  2. Hi JD,

    It is crucial that we embrace life with everything. We have to learn from our experiences and the lessons and move forward. Thanks for sharing JD

  3. @ Daniel — It’s always an interesting balance of connection and conviction. I think it’s easy to lose connection with ourselves, if we lose sight of who we are, and where our source of strength flows from. Being true to you, is the strongest foundation you can flow from.

    @ Evan — I like that. A friend of mine has some amazing stories of how he used to avoid his pains, but then he flipped it around. When he embraced his pains, he turned his life around, like night and day. He has some extreme examples, but in every case, it was about following the pain, and playing it out … and finding the lessons.

    @ Dia — You said it … we get more out of life when we give it all we’ve got. We really do get out of life, what we put it in to it. This theme shows up time and again.

  4. Let go of life’s harsher treatments. Acknowledge it and then let it go. Don’t allow it to become an essential part of you. You are something else — something better than the sum of your hurts.

  5. JD,

    Life does leave a mark, isn’t that a wonderful thing?

    When I look in the mirror and see the scar from my knee surgery or the laugh lines around my eyes I see road maps to Life I’ve lived.

    Each ‘mark’ connects me to memories of the Life Lessons, adventures or experiences I’ve been blessed to know, first hand.

    I wrote about seeking the positive vs. becoming the victim on my blog. You can find it @

    Thanks for sharing your provocative piece.


  6. @ Glenn — I like that … “something better than the sum of your hurts.” Life is many things, but it’s mostly what we make of it.

    @ Connie — I’ve broken, bruised, and scraped so many things … all while learning to live, and being in the thick of things. I like your “road map” analogy. I have a lot of road maps 😉

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