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March 31, 2022

Kintsugi

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In Japan they practice a philosophy called Kintsugi. At the surface, Kintsugi is a way of repairing broken pottery so that it’s functional again. But what’s fascinating is that, according to Kintsugi tradition, when filling in a crack you should use higher quality materials, sometimes gold and silver, to fill the gap.

Kintsugi relates to a more common Japanese philosophy called Wabi-sabi. The core idea is that it’s okay that things aren’t perfect, and instead of treating imperfections as blemishes you view them as history of their past. It injects an appreciation for how things have been instead of just optimizing for how things are now.

That pairs poetically with what I mentioned previously about the materials they use to repair. Not only are they okay highlighting the blemishes and cracks in the pottery, but they invest in them. They use high value metals to communicate that the piece is not useless, in fact it is now more valuable because of its history.

Imagine if we treated ourselves that way. Upon looking at the obvious imperfections within ourselves, we choose to celebrate them, honor them, and fortify them. It becomes a point of pride, and each imperfection is further evidence of how much you’ve done and how great you are. Damage is objective, the evidence of it is clear. But the meaning around that damage is subjective, and the Kintsugi philosophy is your path to more positively relating with your past.

You’ve probably been doing this for yourself without you even knowing it, so let’s figure out what that is - What broke you but caused you to grow back stronger?

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