The world around us celebrates the idea of being invulnerable. We take pride in never showing our hurts, our scars, and our weaknesses. We think that hiding them makes us strong.
The art of kintsugi is an illustration of a different way of being.
It’s fairly obvious that any item repaired by kintsugi does the opposite of hiding its scars. Its scars are highlighted in vivid color to make them obvious in a celebration of its history and the healing of its broken places.
What may be less obvious on the surface is that this refusal to hide its hurts and broken places starts long before the beautiful lines of kintsugi gold come into being.
The kintsugi repairs can only be done when the broken places are acknowledged and focused on. As long as we are pretending that something is not broken or trying to hide those broken places, it can’t be repaired.
The piece must be allowed to completely come apart so that the broken edges can be cleaned and prepared for reattachment. Those broken places continue to receive focused, highlighted attention throughout the entire process of the kintsugi repair.
As people, we are no different.
The first step we take toward healing is acknowledging our hurts and letting them be seen. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge exists.
As long as we continue to let ourselves be fooled into thinking that being hurt is a weakness that must be hidden, we only keep ourselves stuck in our woundedness.
Like a broken dish, holding tight to our broken places in an attempt to pretend they don’t exist makes us weaker, not stronger.
Having the vulnerability to embrace our broken places and allow them to be seen is the real strength because it makes healing possible. A broken dish is stronger after repair once it is whole again than it is in its broken place.
Likewise, we are stronger after healing our wounds than we are when we hold ourselves trapped in our unacknowledged hurts.
This mean that having the vulnerability to acknowledge and work on our wounded places is actually a strength because it is the first step toward making ourselves whole again.
Next time you are tempted to hide or deny the wounded places in your life, remind yourself of the image of kintsugi.
You will be stronger for having the vulnerability to embrace those wounds and allow them to heal.