When something breaks in your life, is your first instinct to replace it? Or is your first instinct to reach for the tools to repair it? If you are in the former, you can benefit from some positive changes in perspective.

You see, the ancient Japanese reparation technique of kintsugi is one that is built upon changing perspective. It leans heavily on the concept that damage alone is not reason enough to discard something. Instead, that damage becomes part of the story; it becomes a meaningful, heartfelt tale for you to tell the wider world. That is why the kintsugi metaphor is so important.

With over four centuries of history, the concept of kintsugi revolves around using a lacquer to fill in the gaps and cracks. If you were to smash a bowl, for example, it would normally be binned and replaced. Kintsugi, though, would involve the reparation of the bowl. Now it becomes stronger, more stylish, and more unique. It has a story to tell that other bowls simply do not.

Instead of surrounding ourselves with faceless perfection, kintsugi instead focuses on surrounding ourselves with something better; a commitment to embracing change.

The original kintsugi metaphor

The original story for kintsugi is hard to pinpoint to a specific person, but most believe it formed during the time of Ashikaga Yoshimasa. The shogun had been given a tea bowl from China, but sent it back to the nation for repairs. Unhappy with the staple-ridden mess that returned, the shogun asked for his own masterminds to find a solution that looked better.

The kintsugi technique was born, embracing the ability to show off the change in the bowl so that it would soon stand out from other bowls. Instead of now being a piece of broken pottery, it became a story; a symbol of embracing transformation and wearing the story and origins of change for all to see.

Indeed, the metaphor here is that we should no longer look to hide the very stories and experiences that make us who we are. We should embrace the events in our life that have led to us being who we are today. This is the very essence of kintsugi; helping us to stop hiding behind who we want to be seen as, and instead focus on who we actually are.

Kintsugi is based around the art of ensuring that the origin becomes as important as the present. For that reason, then, kintsugi has become a phenomenon within the artistry world. The reasoning, though, is always the same: showcasing the reality of a story is far stronger, and far more beautiful, than trying to portray a false narrative.


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