A fresh perspective on challenges: A gift of kintsugi gold

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

Broken heart pendant in tiger eye stone with gold kintsugi (kintsukuroi) repair on gold plated curb chain

This post of part of a series on the subtle gifts of kintsugi gold. In this series, I am sharing some of the gifts I have discovered in the gold of my own healing in the hopes that it will help others identify the quiet gifts available to them. All people are different, however, and all forms of brokenness and healing are likewise unique, so my experience may or may not resemble yours. I hope it can still be a starting point for searching for and discovering your own gifts hidden in your healed scars.

Somewhere along the way as I was growing up, I developed the idea that "normal" life was happy, easy, and problem-free, so when challenges and problems came along, they tended to feel like a VERY BIG DEAL because they were such a big disruption of "normal."

There was not just the challenge of dealing with whatever problem had arisen, but also this strong sense of injustice that my life was being impinged upon by things going wrong to deal with as well. Each problem was a personal affront to my expectation of how life should work.

And then my world fell apart on every possible level.

The sheer scope of the destruction was enough to make every previous challenge I'd ever faced look like child's play.

Somewhere in the midst of all of the suffering, questioning, and agonizing of that period when my life was in shattered pieces, my perspective on problems began to shift as the intensity of what I was dealing with redefined my calibration of challenge.

Now that I'd faced real mountains, it was easy to see that what I'd thought were mountains before were really just molehills.

And while molehills can still be an irritant to deal with when they appear, they really are all in a "normal" day's work.

It really hit me just how much this has shifted for me when I had a recent incident with my car.

I was driving on a road with no berm and tight lanes when I encountered someone who had placed a large trash bin out into my lane in the street. I wasn't able to see it until the last minute because a large vehicle in front of me was obscuring the view of it, and a car in the next lane prevented me from having much room to dodge around it.

It caught the edge of my passenger side mirror with a loud crack and snapped it right off the side of car, leaving it dangling uselessly from wires and dripping shattered glass. A corresponding dent and scraped paint marked the side of the passenger door.

Once upon a time, I would have seen this as a DISASTER and been extremely upset about the damage and the resulting hassle and expense to get it fixed.

These days, my actual response was more like ... "Bummer." And that was it.

It was indeed an expensive repair to get the mirror replaced, but I dealt with it right away despite the wince at the cost. And it was a bit of a hassle having to deal with the repair, but a good book to read made that less painful.

It was days later when I realized it hadn't even registered as a big enough deal to even tell anyone about it. I definitely hadn't felt in any need of support through the process.

I just dealt with it and kept on moving without a noticeable blip on my emotional radar. That's a huge change from the way I once would have reacted!

Somewhere along the way, dealing with the molehills of life has become just a part of my everyday life.

My earlier perspective of comparing every problem to my ideal of a perfect, problem-free life has shifted to one where I compare current problems to what major disaster felt like. And that shift has given me a whole new view of life.

That change in perspective may sound like an odd gift. After all, who wants life's imperfections and problems to be just a part of their "normal" everyday reality?

And yet, this changed perspective has brought so much peace along with it.

Yes, I still have the hassle or frustration or disappointment of dealing with problems as they arise, but without the idea that they are a personal affront to the way life should be, I've dropped so much baggage that I really didn't need to be carrying.

A firsthand experience of just what a "mountain" of grief and challenge can feel like has helped me embrace everyday reality (all its problems and challenges included) as it actually is and not as I want it to be.

And there's an awful lot of peace to be found in dropping my personal war with reality!

How does this reflect (or not) your own experience with going through a time of intense brokenness?

Have you noticed any shift in how you respond to life's smaller problems and challenges after living through a much bigger difficulty?

How has your perspective about problems or challenges changed? Do molehills look any different to you after having see a real mountain?

Are there ways that you would like to see your perspective shift to make room for more peace in how you handle life's molehills?


Other posts in this series

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