Kintsugi (kintsukuroi) inspired carnelian stone pendant with gold repair in black bezel setting on black cotton cord

The cost of healing

Kintsugi (kintsukuroi) inspired carnelian stone pendant with gold repair in black bezel setting on black cotton cord

For my pieces where the stone is set into a bezel (like the one shown above), I start with a stone that is the exact size of the bezel opening so that it fits perfectly into the available space.

After I break it and repair it, however, the stones don’t always fit back quite the way they did before. The addition of the repair material makes the stone slightly larger. And sometimes the edges of along the broken places don’t quite line up the way they did before for various reasons.

You can see an example of this on the right side of the stone above where I had to fill in for a small piece that wound up missing after the break, so the edge isn’t quite as perfectly round as it was before breaking. It doesn’t quite fit into the place where it fit so neatly before.

The same thing happens to us as we heal. Healing doesn’t return us to the exact state we were in before life’s brokenness.

Our experiences and our healing have caused us to grow and change. It’s not always a huge change (though sometimes it is, of course), but it’s usually just enough that we don’t quite fit into the life we used to lead.

There are activities, relationships, jobs, groups, belief systems, or habits that no longer fit the person we have become.

We’ll find ourselves under pressure—either from others or ourselves or most often both—to try to force ourselves back into the spaces we used to occupy, but just like with my stones, the changes we’ve experienced can’t be undone.

We are not the same person we were before.

If we’ve embraced the gold of our healing, we may even be able to see that this is a really good thing. We’ve grown and expanded and added treasure in some way.

But it also hurts. We find ourselves losing parts of our lives that we once found valuable because we can no longer fit into them. It feels like a penalty for having healed and grown.

When we find ourselves in this place, we have a choice.

We can try to grind away parts of who we have become to fit into our old lives, but I’ve found that every time I do this, it just adds more brokenness and only delays changes that were inevitable.

We can get defensive and attack those who may be having a hard time understanding and accepting the people we have become. This is also likely to lead to new brokenness of various kinds (although it often feels good in the moment).

Or we can accept these changes as a cost of our healing (unfair as that may be), be grateful for the important place in our lives that they have held in the past, grieve the loss of them, and then gently release them to move forward to create a new life that fits us better.

This last response allows us to take ownership for our own healing and growth in a way that is respectful of what came before without needing anyone else’s approval or acceptance of who we are becoming. It’s a challenging path to take, but it’s also the most helpful option we can choose.

Most of all, knowing to anticipate this cost of healing makes it easier to accept it when it happens. It’s not personal, and it’s not anything that we (or anything else) has done wrong.

We have simply grown enough through our healing that we don’t fit in the life that we once had. It’s a normal cost of healing.

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