What does it mean to find beauty in imperfection? When we are all constantly promoted with images of perfection how is it possible for someone to find beauty in imperfection?
It was some time ago when I was going through a serious anxiety crisis. I was still working for a big corporation at that time. At some point, I felt that I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to take some time off, recover myself and seriously think about my future.
I was feeling like a wreck and desperate for help. Had no idea what to do or how to recover. However, when I need something without knowing what that is, I would always go for a walk at my favorite book store. This is what I also did at that time. I just headed to the thrillers section and chose two books.
You might wonder how these books would help me. Well, I just needed something I knew would distract me from what I was thinking of. Something that would help me spend some good time on my own. While I was walking down the stairs heading to the cash desk I stopped. That happened because I saw the cover of a book I somehow found interesting, beautiful, and unique.
It was a white cover with golden lines-shapes, I don’t know how to call it exactly. And there was this strange word at the title “Kintsugi”. I grabbed the book and read the page at the back of it. Then, I opened it and started reading. I must had read more than 50 pages just standing there at the stairs.
So what was it all about?
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Table of Contents
- What is Kintsugi?
- What is Wabi-Sabi?
- Wabi-Sabi as an Expression of Love
- 4 Approaches to Show You How to Find Beauty in Imperfection
- Final Thoughts on 4 Approaches to Show How to Find Beauty in Imperfection
What is Kintsugi?
Remember the cover with those golden lines? Well, it was probably from a pottery vase that was broken and its pieces were put back together glued with gold. This technique was used for this was the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi.
Two vases might look just alike but when they beak each one beak in its own unique way. Each one of these pieces is unique. When they are glued back together with gold Kintsugi highlights the places the vase broke, its scars. In other words, the flaws and the imperfections of the broken vase are highlighted instead of trying to hide them. Thus, the repaired item becomes unique and much more priceless than the original.
The book I started reading at these stairs was Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit by Candice Kumai.
In this book, the art of Kintsugi is used as a metaphor where the vase is each one of us. We are all broken in our own unique way and we try to find a way to repair ourselves. Healing our wounds and highlighting our scars might lead to an even more beautiful, unique, and priceless version of ourselves.
Tragedies and hard times in this life happen and usually are many. What they really are are challenges which when we overcome them we can become an improved version of ourselves. Approaching the challenges of life as a victim will always leave you the victim. Touching your wounds aiming to heal them and become stronger and wiser is what the Kintsugi approach is all about.
Nobody is perfect and that is what makes each one of us beautiful.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”Marilyn Monroe
What is Wabi-Sabi?
In the same book, I was also introduced to another Japanese concept, Wabi-Sabi. Wabi means being alone or loneliness, while its poetic meaning is simple, humble, and natural. Sabi refers to the passage of time, the process of aging, and how everything is impermanent.
Historically, during the twelfth century, Japan went through a brutal civil war. During this war, everyone felt like it was possible to die at any time. Living with the fear of death makes you appreciate life and all the small simple, sometimes even the ugly details that consist of life.
There is also the aesthetic side of Wabi-Sabi which came about 700 years back during the Japanese tea ceremony. Tea ceremony used to be an aristocratic gathering which to this day is known for its beauty and elegance.
For Psychology Today, Ryotaro Matsumura, an award-winning tea ceremony master in Yokohama, says about these tea ceremonies:
“As human beings — however flawed and imperfect we are — when we sit together shoulder to shoulder in the backdrop of the great Nature and bond over a single cup of tea, we have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the beauty of this short and imperfect life,”Ryotaro Matsumura
When the tea ceremonies first started, it was thought that only enlightened people were able to understand the beauty hidden in all the small and not “important” things. All these things were imperfect yet so much beautiful.
Wabi-Sabi as an Expression of Love
Wabi-Sabi is the ultimate love for ourselves, other people, and everything around us. This love is unconditional love, we love ourselves despite our flaws and our imperfections. But moreover, we come to the point where we actually love ourselves even more with our scars and find more beauty in our imperfections.
In the same article on Psychology Today, according to Ryotaro Matsumura, this kind of love can lead to a deeper level of satisfaction with life. If we could feel it even once a day, it is this love, he notes, together with “humility and gratitude for the sun, for water, for nature, for humans — despite all our imperfections — that can infuse our days with more meaning and fulfillment.”
Perfection is an illusion. Nothing is or could ever be perfect and of course, nothing is permanent. But yet, we all keep on chasing perfection, possessions, and achievements. Wabi-sabi is an invitation to take a break from this and have some minutes of pause. To acknowledge ourselves, to accept them, and forgive them. Moreover, to see all the beauty in our flaws and the flaws of others. To appreciate the time we have and the time that goes by.
Listed below you may find 4 approaches that can show you how to find beauty in imperfection.
4 Approaches to Show You How to Find Beauty in Imperfection
1. Accept of What is Imperfect
Whether is yourself, a situation, a job, or your relationship with someone else the first step is always the acceptance of what it is. Where you are in life and who you are at this time of your life is a result of choices.
It does not matter whether they were right or wrong. What matters is that we are responsible for where we are. Acceptance can help us find peace with ourselves. Responsibility for our lives and ourselves can only empower us to move forward in life and meet progress.
2. Appreciate the Difficulties
Life is full of hard lessons we often have to take. Of course, life isn’t perfect but yet it is these difficulties that when we overcome them make us stronger and wiser. To reach something meaningful we often have to struggle. However, it is the difficulties that finally bring progress into our lives.
“None of our experiences is in vain if we are capable of learning from what happened to us and from the suffering and pain it caused us. But we won’t be able to learn from what happened if we don’t look back and review our experiences.”Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro
3. Feel Grateful for Yourself and What You Have Achieved
We all tend to compare ourselves with others and find it hard to realize our progress. Mostly, we focus on those we still want or need but for some reason haven’t achieved yet. We feel discouraged and judge ourselves as if though are not enough.
Yes, we are not perfect. Nobody is. To have made it so far though means we try our best each and every time and we become better. Do not focus on all those you haven’t made yet. Focus on all those you have achieved. You have made progress, you are not perfect and maybe you are not the best but you are enough. Be grateful for yourself.
4. Alter your Thoughts
Everything, ourselves included, is how we see it and how we think of it. To find beauty in imperfection means that you change the way you think about everything. You stop criticizing and start accepting.
Do not turn yourself against your imperfections, start loving them and everything will come in place. Use your mind and the power of your thoughts to lead you everywhere you want to be.
Final Thoughts on 4 Approaches to Show How to Find Beauty in Imperfection
To be able to find beauty in imperfection means that we can come in peace with ourselves and the world around us. That we can see all the beauty in our own flaws, the flaws of others, and the flaws of this world.
To find beauty in imperfection means that we deal with time not as an enemy but with an appreciation for what it has brought, what it is, and what is going to bring.
We are all broken but healing ourselves means we create a more unique and priceless version of ourselves. Open your eyes to see how beautiful this imperfect version is!
“We are all wonderful, beautiful wrecks. That’s what connects us–that we’re all broken, all beautifully imperfect.”Emilio Estevez