A Philosophy on Turning Adversity Into Something Beautiful: The Japanese Art of Kintsugi

Alejandro Betancourt
Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

Have you ever taken a moment to appreciate the beauty of something broken? Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi, is an ancient Japanese philosophy that teaches us to turn adversity into beauty.

There are two ways Kintsugi can be applied: internally by learning to take care of ourselves when faced with difficult circumstances, and externally by taking care of others who are hurt emotionally and physically.

What is Kintsugi?

Kintsugi means “golden joinery,” which comes from repairing broken pottery with lacquer and gold. Kintsugi teaches us that even though things may be damaged, they are still valuable and have meaning.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold or silver. This treatment would disguise the breakage and make it look new.

The art of Kintsugi is believed to have originated in the 16th century but has become more popular since the 20th century. The Japanese believe that beauty can be found in imperfections, and they will look for ways to fix broken pottery rather than discard it.

Kintsugi is used to repair cracks, chips, holes, or missing pieces of pottery without creating an ugly surface like glue or filler ever would. It also creates a connection between two parts that may not be otherwise possible.

All together, Kintsugi reflects a deep understanding of life’s fragility and a commitment to making something beautiful out of it.

The Philosophy Behind It

This philosophy can be applied to life as well. When we are faced with adversity, we can turn the situation around if we take care of it with patience, love, and understanding.

Kintsugi restores broken pottery, strengthens the idea that things can be converted to their original beauty or still have meaning despite being damaged. I love how this can be applied to ourselves.

The Internal Application

When we experience difficult times, we have to learn how to care for ourselves. Kintsugi is a reminder that things can be repaired, and we can find beauty in our imperfections. as the pottery is fixed with lacquer and gold, we can restore our hearts with patience, love, and understanding.

We need to remember that Kintsugi is not about hiding or covering up the damage; it’s about accepting it and moving on. Kintsugi is about finding the beauty in life’s fragility and learning to appreciate the journey, even when it’s complicated.

The External Application

Kintsugi also teaches us how to take care of emotionally and physically hurt others. As we want to be healed by kintsugi, so do others. When we offer our compassion and understanding to those hurting, we can help them find the beauty in their own lives.

As Kintsugi reflects a deep understanding of life’s fragility, so too must we have a deep understanding of the people around us if we want to help them heal. We need to be present for them, listen to them, and help them find the beauty in their own lives. Kintsugi is an art that teaches us how to repair ourselves and others with patience, love, understanding, and compassion.

History and Origins

For centuries, Japan has had a reputation for being an enigmatic country with a very distinctive culture. Part of this culture is the art of healing with gold. Traditional Japanese medicine practitioners use gold to heal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, or depression.

Photo by Motoki Tonn on Unsplash

The history of Japan’s art form goes back thousands of years to Taoism and Buddhism in Asia. During this time, people discovered how therapeutic it could be to wear gold jewelry, especially when there is an imbalance in yin and yang energies.

Gold is a type of metal that can create kintsugi when mixed with other metals such as silver or copper. Kintsugi works to heal any cracks in pottery by using these metals to cover the breakage. Kintsugi has been used for centuries inside and outside Japan’s culture throughout Korea, China, Europe, and North America.

What Kintsugi Can Teach Us About Life

The philosophy behind Kintsugi teaches us about how we should see life through a different lens — one where broken things are not considered useless but rather something beautiful because there is still beauty within it despite its condition change. We need this same kind of thinking if we want to retake control of our lives after experiencing hardship.

The philosophy behind Kintsugi can be applied to many aspects of life, but it’s a process that holds a special meaning for those who have experienced trauma or loss. It is often referred to as “grit and grace.”

The samurai practiced it as they would use their swords until they were broken, then mend them with gold to show that the warrior was not ashamed of being defeated in battle. Those who embrace this philosophy are also faced with less stress because they have learned how to adapt and change when things don’t go as planned.

Grit is the perseverance and passion for continuing even when the journey is difficult. Grace is the ability to find beauty in life’s fragility and be kind in the face of adversity. Kintsugi embodies both grit and grace, making it so powerful for self-improvement.

Photo from Canva Pro

Kintsugi teaches us that there is always something beautiful to be found in life, no matter how broken we may feel. We need to open our eyes and hearts to see it.

When faced with adversity, we have two choices: we can either hide from it or confront it head-on. Kintsugi gives us the strength to confront our problems by showing us that things can be repaired and that we can find beauty in our imperfections.

The philosophy of Kintsugi teaches us how to embrace life’s fragility and find the beauty in it. It is a reminder that we can always find a way to move on and be happy no matter what happens. When we learn to appreciate the journey, even when it’s difficult, we have learned the art of Kintsugi.

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I write about Business, Relationships, Parenting, Philosophy, and Self-Improvement. Each article is curated, so there will always be something new to read!

Los Angeles, CA

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