I know you’re probably right along with me in asking yourself, “What is Kintsugi?” I never heard this term before a family friend told me about it on Facebook. It sounded like a Chinese or Japanese term to me. And if you thought that as well, you’d be correct.
“Kintsugi (“golden joinery’), also known as kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
To Be Broken
I absolutely fell in love with this term and the whole idea behind it. It fit so perfectly with my mission to empower women with scars who think they are less than, and it also brings clarity to the notions of brokenness and healing. Kintsugi is the glue that merge these two concepts (brokenness and healing) together. Whether a physical or mental experience left scars within you, it is all in the meaning and perception that you have assigned to these experiences that will determine how you will live your life going forward.
For 12 years, I restricted myself because of my mental scars. The physical scar was there, it had already happened; I couldn’t change it and there was nothing that I could do to take it away. (If you don’t know my story, please read about me here.) But I could have embraced this scar years ago and my life may have been completely different, who knows?
The point is, we don’t know how much our scars prevent us from living in the present and doing the things we need or want to do. You are restricting your ENTIRE LIFE based on your perception of an imperfection, whether physical or mental. If you think you’re broken, then you are, as James Allen explains in his book, As A Man Thinketh. And I know that it is not a small step to just accept that “thing” and move on, because getting over the mental scars is the hardest part. But the thing is, you have to be aware of them and have the desire to want to change. You only have ONE LIFE. How important is it to you to live it being the best and most authentic person you can be?
Wabi-Sabi and Kintsugi
There is also a Japanese Philosophy called wabi-sabi, which is similar to Kintsugi which means “embracing of the flawed or imperfect” as discussed in this Make: article. The concept behind it is: yes, this thing is broken, but it’s ok because I can mend it. Then, I will recognize and accept the beauty in this new thing the broken pieces created.
So Kintsugi is taking the broken pieces and mending them with gold and silver; things of great value. And Wabi-Sabi is embracing the new piece that Kintsugi has mended! And if we think about those concepts in terms of our life, the broken pieces are our story (the thing that happened, the bad experience), and kintsugi are the lessons and the growth we experience from our story; the value! We are human beings that are made for change, for progress, for new experiences. How bored would you be if you did the same thing every single day, over and over?! Could you imagine? The story would always be the same.
Our world would be so different if people understood and welcomed these two philosophies into their viewpoint. You were served lemons, so make lemonade! Those pieces of you that are broken, mend them with the lessons you learned and the growth you experienced, and make a BETTER YOU! Like Kintsugi, treat your repaired self as part of your history, your story, rather than something to hide!
That is beauty of life! You live to learn. You grow, become more, and progress!
The Path Forward
If I had never been aware of the restrictions that I put on myself around my scar and didn’t have the desire to change, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now. My company wouldn’t exist. It was only after I began to do the self-development work that the ideas started to flow. My mission is to help other women recognize the beauty in themselves, despite any scars, and open them up to a path to authenticity. This world needs people to be more real and make an impact.
So be real. Make an impact!
What have you been holding yourself back from? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!