Kintsugi.

The art of loving yourself and accepting weaknesses.

Alexandra Shemchuk 🐋
Apr 16 · 5 min read

Have you ever felt yourself severely damaged by circumstances, dire experiences, by mistakes you cannot fix? We all did.

Why? Why me?… You cannot help asking these questions over and over again.

The sensations of frustration, regret, fear gradually lead to self-loathing and low self-esteem. You never feel like you are worthy of achieving more, being more. But you ‘have to’ stand up and do something, live like nothing happen. So, you suppress your damaged self by burying it as deep as only possible. Literally, you solve the problem by hiding it from everyone including yourself.

Then, you continue pushing harder to distract yourself from the pain. ‘I’m fine’, ‘I am strong’, ‘Just hold on another day and everything will be okay’. Unfortunately, such an approach makes you more miserable because you go on with damaging thoughts, tensity inside and inability to let go.

Most of us deal with fear and pain. We all know how it feels to be broken. No exceptions. People who seem to be the most successful and happy may have experienced even more grief. But they’ve discovered how to withstand it.

All the time we’re trying to be better, more fulfilled and energized. We search for the secret self-improvement technique. But on a deeper level, we know that there’s no secret at all. To heal and feel whole again we need to put in a lot of work.

Kintsugi.

Kin(金) = gold

tsugi (継)= joinery, to repair, to continue, to follow

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing smashed pottery with high-quality gold or silver lacquer to enhance the beauty of the broken pieces. Japanese people believe that golden cracks make items even more perfect and valuable. I like to think of this art as a metaphor for life.

Kintsugi tell us it’s fine to feel pain and be vulnerable.

Have you ever imagined that beautiful day when everything will be just as you wished? You’ll have the job you enjoy, a loving family, great friends, lots of money and respect. That Monday when you can start living your life and everything suddenly become perfect.

I want to ruin that dream of yours because this is not going to happen. It’s not about how unfair or sucking life is, this is about balance in the universe. Wonderful and disappointing are always together. You live neither on the bright nor on the dark side, you go through both at the same time.

However, the world is much more complicated than a chess game. We cannot possibly learn how to win the game of life, how to avoid pain and suffering. Life doesn’t like to be precisely planned because we don’t have just white and black sells popping up at times, we live in the field of millions ‘grey’ chances. So, none of us will ever be ultimately happy, healthy, fulfilled and etc. There is no such thing and that’s fairly clear for most of us.

As we inevitably will go through some difficulties. Let’s accept that it’s normal to feel sorrow. It’s fine to be vulnerable. That’s okay to give yourself time to share, to open up, to feel compassion. The support of another person makes it easier for you to let go. When you see understanding and empathy in your friend or just a stranger, you realize no one is perfect. But those imperfections make us even more great and extraordinary. Even more special.

Kintsugi shows that even broken things can have a second life in such an incredible form. It’s normal to have сracks if you’re willing to turn them into magnificent golden threads with all the care and love in the world.

Kintsugi teaches that your ‘broken’ parts make you stronger and better than you were.

All of us had either horrible and beautiful experiences that affected us, but why do we hate ‘bad’ and enjoy ‘good’ if both changed us forever, made us wiser, stronger, tougher, made us different?

Look back at the hardest things you faced and think of the knowledge you gained in dealing with them. How much greater you now, thanks to past sufferings?

In terms of mental strength, I look up to professional athletes. They accept pain, troubles, fear as a part of their way to greatness. Endless hours of training, excruciating pain, severe injuries, they learn to accept all of it. Even when they lost the competition because of some stupid mistake athletes have to analyze it and, then, see it as a valuable experience.

Sen no Rikyu, the historical figure with the most profound influence on Japanese“Way of Tea”, on a journey through southern Japan was once invited to a dinner by a host who thought Rikyu would be impressed by an elaborate and expensive antique tea jar that he had bought from China. But Rikyu didn’t even seem to notice this item and instead spent his time chatting and admiring a branch swaying in the breeze outside. In despair at this lack of interest, once Rikyu had left, the devastated host smashed the jar to pieces and retired to his room. But the other guests more wisely gathered the fragments and stuck them together through kintsugi. When Rikyu next came to visit, the philosopher turned to the repaired jar and, with a knowing smile, exclaimed:

‘Now it is magnificent’.

Kintsugi teaches you to forgive and love yourself.

What do we do when feeling physical pain? Of course, we try to get rid of it as soon as possible, do whatever is needed. However, when talking about emotional suffering it seems like we enjoy it. Overthinking problems, reviving the worst memories of our lives instead of finishing the healing. We hate people that have done something bad to us, but it only makes our life more gloomy.

Forgiveness is a way to free yourself from those devastating emotions. Firstly, forgive yourself for the mistakes and bad choices you’ve made. Then, forgive people from the past who made you suffer. Let go of things you cannot control. Don’t make your life more difficult than it is.

While forgiving, you will notice that your most beautiful and significant sides are parts that were broken, recovered and healed.

Kintsugi is about self-love and acceptance. Appreciate your past, learn from mistakes, feel free to let go of toxic relationships. Accept your vulnerabilities and fears. Love your presents they make you extraordinary and beautiful.

When you think you are crushed, remember that you always can pick the broken pieces and put them together with the golden glue of acceptance, love, and support. The first step to self-love is to learn to welcome your cracks as an amazing part of the person you are.

Thank you for reading)

Alexandra Shemchuk 🐋

Written by

•Just a girl who likes writing about life•