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.
Many of the gifts of kintsugi gold that come out of our healing from times of brokenness in our lives are quiet, subtle things that are easy to overlook next to the loud, raging pain the brokenness itself created.
Over the course of this series, I've shared twelve of the gifts of kintsugi gold I've discovered in my life, and you've probably noticed that they are all skills and character traits that have been developed or enhanced as I've healed from my own brokenness.
And these are just a few of the many I could name and are an even smaller subset of the many gifts of healing that are available to us.
In fact, because we all start with different skills and abilities, it's even possible that some of those gifts may seem to be direct opposites to the ones I discovered.
For example, while I discovered that I was stronger and able to handle more on my own than I thought possible, maybe someone else who knew their independent strength well learned that it is also possible to ask for and receive help when times are hard.
The real question is: What gifts of kintsugi gold have you discovered in your life?
Exploring your own gifts of kintsugi gold
As you search for your own gifts of kintsugi gold, there may be some right on the surface where you find ways that your life circumstances (or your experience of them) have ultimately changed in positive ways after a period when everything fell apart.
When that happens, it's worth paying attention to those things as a reminder that what seems like the end of the world isn't always so, but it's still helpful to dig a little deeper to find the gifts hiding quietly in your inner world too.
But before we launch into that search, I want to remind us all of two myths that often get in the way of our exploring.
First, the fact that we ultimately find gifts of kintsugi gold in our healing does not mean that the brokenness happened in order for us to have those gifts. The truth is that we can never know for sure why something happened as it did, so there is no reason to assume that the brokenness was caused by our need for the gifts we received.
It is possible that good can come out of hard times without being the cause of those hard times. Believing otherwise tends to throw unnecessary blame into the mix that makes it harder to see and embrace the gifts that are possible, so let go of any hint of this myth of causation.
Second, claiming a gift of kintsugi gold in our healing does not mean that we have to think that gift made the brokenness worth it. No matter how many gifts we may discover, it is possible that we may still prefer that the brokenness never happened, and that's ok!
Claiming the gift does not mean that we necessarily have to be grateful for the pain that came before it. Letting go of this myth that the gift must be worth the cost allows us to see more clearly the gifts themselves without the unnecessary weight of making ourselves feel something we don't about whatever caused the brokenness in our lives.
With those two myths out of the way, here are some places to search to find your own gifts of kintsugi gold.
One of the easiest places for me to start my search is with lessons I learned about myself or about how life works after my experience. These are usually insights that allow me to make better choices in the future when faced with challenges.
For example, I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was and can handle more than I thought without crumbling. This makes me less fearful of future challenges and more likely to take (appropriate) risks because I am less concerned about my ability to handle them.
What did you learn from your experience of brokenness as you have healed?
What have you learned about what you are capable of? How has that changed decisions you've made as you've rebuilt?
What have you learned about what you need from others or from life? How has this changed the people or circumstances you choose to have in your life, what you expect from them, or how you structure your life?
What have you learned about how life works? (For example, learning that there is always sweetness present even in the midst of awfulness.) How has learning this changed your experience of life?
Another powerful place for me to find these gifts is in paying attention to how my usual patterns of dealing with life have shifted during the course of my healing. Patterns are my (often unconscious) habits in how I live and structure my life.
For example, I have a pattern of avoiding taking responsibility for my own "stuff" by obsessing over other people's "stuff" instead. My healing from this time of intense brokenness forced me to face this pattern and begin shifting it toward a healthier approach.
Paying attention to patterns like this and how they have shifted can be a powerful way to reinforce these healthy shifts in addition to being a gold mine for identifying these gifts begin with.
What patterns of reacting do you have in your life? How have those patterns of behavior or thought been changed by your experience of brokenness and healing?
What new patterns have emerged as you have healed? How are those new or shifted patterns changing your relationship with yourself, with others, or with your situation in life?
How are these new patterns gifts that serve you? Are there any patterns that would benefit from additional attention to strengthen their new shape or to shift them further toward patterns that are helpful to you?
Before and after
A third big bucket I search in is to take a long view in comparing how I am reacting to challenges now compared to how I have done so in the past. These gifts often develop so slowly that it is easier to see them over the course of long periods of time than in the day-to-day.
These are not so much the patterns or habits of daily living that we just covered, but an awareness of the choices we have made in the immediate face of challenge and how those choices have changed.
For example, I have noticed that when I'm faced with hard times now I am more willing to sit with them and explore them with curiosity instead of rushing into action to either escape or attempt to "fix" them as I would have in the past. My capacity to face that space of pain and unsettledness has grown.
This is an area that I'm still growing in (and probably always will be), but when I look back over the course of years to how I've reacted in the past to how I react now, I can see big changes—changes that are helpful for my overall growth and well-being.
As you face challenges or hard times now (even smaller ones that would not necessarily qualify as feeling broken), how do your reactions now compare to the way you would have reacted in the past?
Where do you see signs of growth and health as you compare the two?
How do notice yourself choosing differently in those moments of challenge? What skills have you developed or increased to make those new choices possible?
The last place to search for gifts is in paying attention to the new choices you have made about how you structure your life in the wake of brokenness and healing. These choices might show themselves in your relationships, your career, the way you spend your time, what you value, or the beliefs you choose to embrace.
For example, I have chosen to finally make becoming self-employed a high priority in my life. Although I've longed for this for years, I've never had the courage to do what it took to make it happen.
One of my gifts has been an increased freedom to do what is meaningful for me, even when it didn't fit other people's ideas of what I should do. Nowhere is this gift more evident than in the ways I have restructured my life to make this goal of self-employment a reality.
Where have you made new choices in how you live your life in the wake of brokenness? What gifts are in or behind those new choices?
What do those new choices tell you about how you have grown as you have healed?
How are those new choices serving you in ways that earlier choices did not?
Discovering the gifts of kintsugi gold that have come out of our healing from times of brokenness is a powerful way to claim the good that is available to us even in the hardest times and to focus on our healing in ways that nurture both continued healing and ongoing growth.
Using the examples from this series of gifts of kintsugi gold that I've discovered in my life and the suggestions of places to seek your own gifts listed above, what gifts of kintsugi gold would you claim for yourself?
How can you nurture those gifts to strength the benefits they bring to your life?
How can you expand those gifts for your ongoing growth and healing?
How can you offer those gifts back to the world around you to help others heal from their own broken places?
Want to share your story of healing and discovery of kintsugi gold? Check out my guest posting guidelines and submit your story to expand the conversation!
Other posts in this series
- The subtle gifts of kintsugi gold
- Uncovering hidden strength: A gift of kintsugi gold
- A fresh perspective on challenges: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The hardest kind of compassion: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Breaking the tyranny of emotions: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The winds of freedom: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Curiosity of the heart: A gift of kintsugi gold
- The quiet courage that matters most: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Savoring life's sweetness: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Taking the right responsibility: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Reshaping the story: A gift of kintsugi gold
- Clearer vision in the mirror: A gift of kintsugi gold
- A bedrock of trust: A gift of kintsugi gold
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