What is Kintsugi?
Kintsugi is a centuries old Japanese art. It translates to “golden joinery” and is the beautiful process of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold or silver. The pieces of broken ceramic ware are joined together with the gold, resulting in gold glinting in the seams breathing new life into each piece.
This repair method illuminates each artifact’s unique history by emphasizing its fractures and breaks instead of attempting to hide the flaws.
Kintsugi revitalizes each piece and often results in the repaired piece becoming even more beautiful than the original – a unique, one-of-a-kind piece with all its flaws on display shining with gold.
We humans are just like that. We’re beautiful pieces of art constantly breaking, fracturing, making mistakes, screwing things up, yet emerging more beautiful than ever before. The only difference is that society teaches us that making mistakes is wrong and teaches us to hide our flaws. Instead of shining in the glow of our mistakes, we constantly tread on a tightrope, too afraid to stray off the straight line and fall down.
The Fear of Making Mistakes
Doesn’t it almost seem as if the only person making mistakes is you sometimes? When you look around you on social media, only the best parts of everyone’s lives are on display. Rarely do people write posts about their screw-ups in life or the rough times they’re facing.
On top of that, often a lot of the people in your life can be judgmental, regardless of the state of their own affairs. Your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, parents, teachers, professors, friends, relatives, the stranger on the side of the street…the list of people we fear judgement from is endless.
Often, certain individuals in your life can even expect perfection from you making you desperately want to avoid disappointing them.
This really sets the stage for a fear of making mistakes.
Everytime you make a mistake, you feel like something catastrophic has happened, that somehow you’re more of a failure than anyone else you know, and you feel like everybody you know is going to be notified of this status change any minute now!
This is no way to live. Not only is this a horrible way to live, but it can keep you from progressing as fast as you can in your life! Growth is inherently rooted in making mistakes.
Bringing Kintsugi Into Your Life
Can you imagine what would happen if a baby was afraid of making mistakes while learning how to walk? If a baby was scared of falling or the judgement from the people in their life if they were to fall, they would take a ridiculously long time to master the simple act of walking! Some babies might not even learn how to walk at all!
The above scenario sounds laughable, but it’s something each of us are guilty of on a daily basis. How many times have you hesitated to make a decision because you were afraid of making a mistake?
Making mistakes is the building block of self-growth. Through your mistakes, you become wiser and learn better ways of navigating through life. Sometimes, the quicker you mess up, the faster you get where you want to be.
Give yourself permission to mess-up and make mistakes.
Give yourself the freedom to undertake risks knowing that you might end up making things worse. Give yourself kindness and understanding when you do end up between a rock and a hard place. Learn to not beat yourself up about every tiny little thing that you could have done better.
Learn to let yourself break and when you do, put yourself back together again with the knowledge that you are stronger and more beautiful than ever!
This doesn’t mean you should go out and do stupid things. Calculating risks and making well-thought out decisions is an incredibly important skill to have. However, living a life confined in the box of your comfort zone is the recipe for an unhappy and unfulfilled life.
Dare to explore, dare to do something stupid once in a while, dare to put your heart out on a sleeve knowing it might break in the end, make a crazy career change, embark upon an adventure, go search for treasures, live without the constant fear of making mistakes. Let go of that crippling fear of screwing up that’s holding you back! Let go of the limiting mindset that leaves no room for failure.
Mistakes are Inevitable
No matter how hard you try, you will make mistakes. By giving yourself permission to mess-up, you make the journey of life so much more fulfilling and enrich it with positivity and growth. Every time you fall down, it’s another opportunity for you to get back up, stronger and smarter than ever with your own personal gold glinting in every crack.
If you’re afraid of people’s judgement, remember that other people’s opinions do not matter! You do NOT exist to make everyone around you happy and appease their every desire.
You are a beautiful unique individual on your own personal journey through life and you should let no one, not even your closest loved ones, impede your journey of self-growth. Doing so is not only grievously unfair to yourself, but also unfair to the people around you who only see a pale, unauthentic version of yourself when you have so much more to you than that!
Ultimately, mistakes are a part of life and a very essential part at that. By giving yourself permission to mess up in life, you open up a whole new avenue of opportunities previously not available to you.
Go out and make some mistakes! While recovering from them may be challenging, you’ll come out so much more amazing on the other side! Incorporate the art of Kintsugi into your life and you life will shine with more beauty and vitality than you ever could have imagined!