The gold in our broken pieces
We often seek external validation at times in our lives when things seem to be breaking down and no longer working as they did before.
Very often we develop self-destructive behaviors as a result of our struggles and obstacles, that can manifest in the form of eating disorders, addiction and substance abuse, which is a coping mechanism to find from the stress and pain of our circumstances.
Like a favorite vase or bowl, people sometimes crack. We may even break. We cannot and should not throw ourselves away when this happens.
As a culture addicted to perfection, we discard broken items rather than repair or preserve them.
What if we started repairing things and appreciating their imperfections?
Kintsugi, the 15th-century Japanese art involves the repairing of damaged or aging ceramics by filling the cracks with gold. It gives new life, healing, and rebirth to objects by celebrating their flaws and history.
While the original form is no longer, the essence of its beauty is enhanced and considered to be more valuable for having been broken.
I love to think of this practice as a metaphor for our lives. Sometimes in the process of mending things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.
What if we too could see the broken, difficult, or painful parts of ourselves as beautiful and as valuable as gold?
The idea of displaying (rather than concealing) imperfection resonates deeply with me because we are encouraged by society to keep our brokenness and insecurities hidden away.
The spirit of kintsugi highlights the beauty of our flaws.
I have witnessed in both my own life and in the lives of those with whom I have worked, much like the ceramic pieces repaired with kintsugi, that through the very process of embracing our imperfections, we can emerge, not only transformed but better.
When I was struggling with an eating disorder and fighting with my body my painful experience transformed into lessons of hope which has helped others.
Accepting our brokenness and imperfections means being forgiving and loving towards ourselves. We need to set aside our self-defeating beliefs that it is impossible for us to recover from our devastations, betrayals, and losses. No one of us is inheritably broken.
We are not damaged goods, unworthy of love, recognition or success. Each shattered piece of our lives is precious and worth embracing.
Our scars are our stories. They are the physical evidence of a life lived. Let them be a source of pride rather than shame. They show us how far we have come, and what we have overcome. They are our golden-filled cracks. Our most valuable parts, from where all our lessons and growth emerge. They are the flaws that honor both our past experiences as well as our new transitioned selves.
We are forever changed by our pain and our struggles. Kintsugi teaches us to embrace these experiences for what they have taught us, and the beauty they bring to our lives.
Leonard Cohen said it best in this quote: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Life is not a destination, it is a journey through triumphs, mistakes, and evolution. Our mistakes and flaws do not define us, and together we can give you the tools you need to battle every challenge, celebrate every victory and achieve YOUR best you.
Learn to see each struggle as your teacher. It will empower you to become stronger and re-launch higher. Most importantly be patient and gentle with yourself, healing takes time.