In writing about kintsugi living, I focus a lot on what happens to the cracks and broken places we experience in our lives after we heal and the gold that we find there. While the hope and encouragement that focus brings, it’s also helpful to sometimes look at what happens with those cracks and broken places before we have had time to heal. That’s what I want to do today.
When I went through the period of so much brokenness many years ago that lead to the creation of A Kintsugi Life, I felt like my entire life was breaking apart. There were huge cracks everywhere I looked.
Because of the amount of pain I was in (and the fear and anger that accompanied that pain), I was not at my best for quite some time. Although I recognized that at the time, looking back now with the perspective of some distance I can clearly see just how much my pain caused me to act out in unhealthy ways.
What I can see now that I couldn’t see then was that these unhealthy patterns of reacting weren’t new. I had been using those same unhealthy patterns for years in smaller bursts of resentment, anger, judgment, and other ugliness when I felt hurt, threatened, or off balance.
I suspect others had been seeing and experiencing these unhealthy patterns for a long time, but it took the substantial breaking open for me to see the ugliness that I had been avoiding looking at for years.
Those cracks in my life during that time may have made the problem worse than normal, but they were simply exposing what had already lived behind my carefully constructed masks all along. Those cracks became windows for me to see into my own inner world, and I really didn’t like what I saw.
Much of my healing in the years since then has been about trying to develop new patterns of responding to difficulties that would be healthier (for me and for those around me). I want future cracks to show a healthier inner life than what came before.
I’ve made a lot of progress in this, although I know without a doubt that I still have unhealthy patterns to work on. I’m sure I will for as long as I’m on this earth.
Here’s the good news, though: we don’t have to wait until future cracks and broken places in our lives expose our shadow sides to decide to become healthier. Being willing to work on our inner growth and being honest with ourselves about our unhealthy patterns allows us to clean up our inner lives any time we want.
I’ve continued to use small difficulties and challenges to develop new skills and to grow in my ability to handle things in a healthy manner because I want to do everything I can to ensure that the windows created by future cracks radiate less ugliness and more light.
What do the cracks in your life expose? What patterns might you want to focus on shifting in your inner life so that future cracks will leak more goodness?
Image created with a stock photo from a Canva subscription package.
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