Kintsugi is a Japanese art of repairing pottery. Entire family histories can be written in a single tea cup.
‘This is where my son chipped the cup when he knocked it off trying to climb on the counter. That kid was always climbing on everything. When he grew up, he climbed mountains.’
‘This is where Grandpa let it roll off the roof when he was a kid. He’d sneak up there after his parents went to sleep to watch the stars. Maybe that’s where my son got his climbing from.’
Every gold seem of an old battered cup passed down generation to generation can be rich in family lore and legend. Pretty freakin cool, huh?
I thought of kintsugi when I came across a particular passage while reading Geneen Roth’s ‘When Food is Love’. “Hemingway says that the world breaks everyone and some of us are strong in the broken places. The purpose of healing is to be strong in the broken places….Healing is about being broken and whole at the same time.”
I once had someone tell me, in reference to my interest in psychology, that the only people who become psychologists or therapists are the screwed up people who are trying to fix themselves. I understood his intent was to be cruel and hurtful but I was thinking, ‘Yeah, but who better to help people than those who have gone before?’ Apparently, Hemingway and Roth agree.
Consider you’d like to beef up your biceps, so target them in your workouts. You are literally tearing down the muscle fibers so that when they repair, they grow back bigger and stronger. Now, I’m not suggesting you beat yourself up emotionally. I am saying that when you suffer and then heal, you grow stronger in that area.
When trying to find a niche for my coaching practice, someone asked where I’ve struggled the most. That is going to be my sweet spot. That is where I have gone before, suffered, struggled, learned, grew, overcame, triumphed – and now I am showing up to help others do the same.
Our scars are not ugly things to shamefully hide. Our scars are our kintsugi, telling our stories, singing our victories and helping us grow ever stronger.