Knowing our true and authentic selves is necessary for self-acceptance.
All of our goals, aspirations, choices, and every other factor, all relate to the quality of our lives, and to some extent can show who we are in our truest form. I’ve never really understood what it meant to be your ‘true self’, let alone how you went about achieving this, until I discovered a whole new philosophical encounter.
I was recently reading about Japanese culture, and I came across the ancient art of kintsugi. For anyone who hasn’t come across this term before, kintsugi is the art of ‘golden joinery’. When a ceramic object gets broken and shatters, rather than throwing it away, some Japanese artists connect the pieces pack together using a golden lacquer, to restore the object back to being something useable. Within Japanese culture, the breaking of the object is a part of its’ unique history, and is therefore something that should be admired, not thrown away.
They see the art in something broken, and see the new object as something far more beautiful and revitalised than it was before. To those within this culture, it is believed that there is far more spirituality and purpose in a practice such as this, than there is in perceiving something that’s broken as ‘valueless’, and repeatedly buying new things to replace those that are broken, that have little or no authenticity and character.
The origin of kintsugi closely follows from the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, which translates to a number of different meanings, with the general interpretation being: “to find beauties in imperfect things”. This idea promotes the view of finding the beauty in all things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, and seeing the elegance in authenticity. Wabi sabi is about embracing rawness and purity, and not giving in to modern-age consumerism, and the desires to have the new and latest products. This ideology can be generalised to be interpreted into wider life, and it is common for some Japanese people to incorporate it into their everyday lives. They do so by celebrating things that might at first seem ugly and damaged due to weather, age and excessive use. It is admiring a simple landscape and appreciating the imperfect, uneven earth within it. It is seeing the value in frayed edges, rusted metal, and creaking floorboards. It is the simple acceptance of self, and of all other beings that surround us.
How to incorporate kintsugi and wabi sabi into your life.
Bringing wabi sabi into your life is less complicated than it may first seem. It is a state of mind and a way of being, as opposed to an action that we must fulfil. It can be accomplished by simply appreciating and accepting things as they are, whether it is an inanimate object, your own appearance or the irregular layout of your home, as opposed to striving for perfection in everything that you see, feel and do. This can be as straightforward as keeping your favourite mug even though its chipped and tea-stained, or looking into the mirror bare-faced, and deciding that you prefer your natural and imperfect face to one full of MAC makeup and false eyelashes. It is thinking in this format that allows us to be our true selves – genuine and unique with the way we feel about ourselves, the way we approach others, and the way we choose to accept the individuality of everything around us. Everything that we come into contact with in this Universe has its’ own unique history, ourselves included. Once we allow ourselves to consider life in this way, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, and discover what it means to radiate authenticity.
The Japanese people see the art in something broken. I think this is a beautiful concept that can be applied to all paths of life. I beat myself up about times when I have felt broken and imperfect, and I know I can vouch for others in having this lower opinion of myself, as I know I’m not alone. However, there is truth behind the concept of wabi sabi, of how these periods of feeling broken, unworthy and incapable are just added chapters to our own histories. What I take from this philosophy is that it is the way in which we repair ourselves through self care that makes us far more beautiful than the person we were before. Wearing our hearts on our sleeves and being truly raw in our intellect and our being is far more equisite than a perfect and uniformed perception of how our lives should be. Being authentic and true to our values and beliefs is all that should matter within our lives.
We all have our own gold running through us, and after discovering kintsugi and wabi sabi I have come to realise that this is something that we should all embrace, rather than try to disguise.