Uncovering hidden strength: A gift of kintsugi gold

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

Kintsugi (kintsukuroi) brecciated jasper stone heart pendant with gold repair on black cotton cord 

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.

For most of my life, I have had a familiar, never-ending refrain that runs through my head when faced with a challenge that pushes me outside my comfort zone. It goes like this:

I can't do this! I can't do this! I can't do this! I'm not strong enough! I can't do this!

That constant refrain shaped more of my life's choices than I like to admit.

I backed away from challenges, gave up on dreams, postponed dealing with hard stuff, and hid from anything that appeared at all risky. I settled for the easy way out over and over again and sought ways to be rescued by someone else when the going got tough.

And each time I did any of this, it just further convinced me that the little voice in my head was right. I really can't do this!

I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wasn't strong enough, wasn't tough enough, wasn't capable enough to handle challenges on my own.

By the time the period of major brokenness hit a few years when so many parts of my life collapsed one after another, I had proven this to myself so thoroughly that it was simply accepted fact in my own mind.

And then it all fell apart. I found myself surrounded by challenge after challenge after challenge with no easy ways out available to me. There was no one to rescue me and nowhere to hide.

Every attempt I made to find help or escape or support or rescue only made things worse and added to the crumbling ruins.

I found myself more alone and beaten down than I'd ever been in my life, surrounded by challenges and no one to lean on to get me through.

I had no other option except to do what was necessary to get through it.

It didn't matter that I didn't think I was strong enough or that I couldn't do it or that it was too hard for someone like me to handle. I still had to do what needed to be done to survive.

And I did!

When push came to shove, I discovered I had a great deal more strength in me than I'd ever dreamed.

It wasn't fun. It wasn't pretty. I made a lot of mistakes, cried a lot of tears, and looked despair right in the eye more times than I can count, but I still discovered that I had what it took to get through even as big a mess as that.

Much to my astonishment, facing my challenges wasn't fatal after all. It was often unpleasant, frequently terrifying, and definitely uncomfortable, but it wasn't fatal.

In fact as I kept finding the strength day by day to make tough choices, face challenges that felt insurmountable, and walk right into the face of my fears, I proved wrong the voice that chanted that little refrain in my head over and over again.

Over time, I had proven it so thoroughly that the refrain slowly began to shift to something more like:

I don't want to do this! I don't want to do this! I know I can do it, but I really don't want to do this!

It turns out that's so much more accurate, and it kept me doing the things that needed to be done (even when I didn't want to) to keep proving to myself over and over and over again that I really was stronger than I thought I was.

It's been a discovery and a lesson that continues to pay rich dividends in my life as I've moved forward from that time.

I still don't know that I'd say that this discovery was "worth" all of the losses I went through, and I definitely don't believe that those losses happened for the purpose of teaching me this, but it's been an extraordinarily powerful bit of gold in my scars that serves me well now as I've embraced it and made a point of holding onto the lesson even as the brokenness has healed.

How does this reflect (or not) your experience?

Have you ever been through something that you thought you'd never be strong enough to handle only to discover that you were stronger and more capable than you thought?

How have you made use of this discovery to keep building on that strength and that knowledge of your own strength?

What have been able to do with that strength that you might not have attempted otherwise?

Are there ways that you can better claim and make use of the strength you have uncovered during hard times to help you build the life you dream of as healing takes place?

No matter how broken you may feel, you are still stronger than you know!


Other posts in this series

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