Recently a beautiful piece of pottery I own broke. I was so upset at first and thought, “Shoot, I’m going to have to throw this away” because that’s what we usually do with broken things.
But then I remembered the ancient Japanese philosophy of Kintsugi, which is the art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold bonding glue. It’s centered on the idea that when we embrace flaws and imperfections, we create an even stronger, more resilient piece of art. The idea of Kintsugi embodies the idea of highlighting our scars and celebrating our imperfections as part of the object’s history and not the end of the story.
Kintsugi is really a metaphor for our own lives when we feel broken, shattered, or unworthy of being “kept.” I know for me, there were plenty of times I felt like I wasn’t worth it.
- I think of the time I went through a terrible divorce and had a 2-month old baby.
- Or the time an entire mob of angry, unhappy women blistered me on social media with hurtful untruths and deeply criticized me as a human being. Wow, that really, really hurt.
- Or when I felt so weak, flawed, and broken because of my intense panic disorder. I didn’t think I would ever feel hope in my life again.
As I look back on some of these very dark days of the soul, I can see that they were all painful but necessary to the molding of who I am today. Fortunately, they made me who I am today.
A woman who knows herself much better. A woman who believes in her worthiness regardless of others’ opinions. A woman who still hurts at times from the times her life felt shattered, but a woman who no longer thinks she’s “less than” because of it.
What if we all started to embrace the idea of owning our flaws and imperfections? What if the breakage and repairing of our lives were a testament to our courage to honor our history and how it all played into the fabric of who we are on the journey of becoming ourselves? What if we learned to celebrate all the pieces of us rather than working so hard to hide or disguise them?
My friend, Jennifer, recently posted on Facebook, “We often talk about self-love and filling our cups to overflow into other people’s lives. Sometimes we are not in a place where we can fill our cups because we just dropped the cup, and it shattered into a dozen pieces. We are doing our best to pick up those pieces and figure out what to do next.”
If you are feeling broken right now…if your life is in a million pieces and you don’t know where to start, I feel you. You are not alone in your sadness. You are not alone in your so-called “brokenness.”
I want you to know that you are allowed to pick up the pieces of yourself and begin to glue them back together again. You are allowed to rebuild yourself into the person you want to be. You are allowed to honor all of the hard things you’ve gone through that make you who you are today.
Approach your tender heart with gentleness and grace and delight in the knowledge that your rebuild will be celebrated by the people who matter most. Find solace in the strength you rely on in this journey to the “new” you, the next evolution of your kind heart, and beautiful life. Cheers to you and your next adventure. May it leave room for Kintsugi in your soul.