Kintsugi – Finding beauty in your imperfections

In this article, Kintsugi ‘kintsukuroi’, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery, has been used a metaphor for embracing life’s imperfections and the healing process, should you need one.


Life is all about living it to the fullest, in its ups and downs, in its grievances and sufferings, happiness and elations. So why repent and grieve and feel that your very purpose of life is over? The Japanese concept of Kintsugi says just that it is perfectly fine to be imperfect and to live your life by appreciating your own uniqueness- to relive your passion even amidst imperfections. 

“O I wish I could undo my wrongdoings and relive those moments of the past once again!” 

Kintsugi is an art form based on the Japanese belief Wabi-sabi that states that flaws and imperfection also have a beauty of their own. The art form meaning ‘golden journey’ refers to the art of fixing broken pottery with a kind of golden lacquer that remains visible and it is the visibility of the cracks and golden lines of repair that lends the pottery its beauty. 

The Wabi-sabi art form when applied to personal life gives out the message that true beauty lies not in being perfect and flawless, but in embracing the imperfections in yourself as unique embellishments that make you stand apart from the crowd.

Kintsugi. Being happy with life's imperfections

Kintsugi and the Idea of Happiness

“ You cannot take care of the household the way my mother can,” “How disorganised you are, could you not be a little more systematic in your work?”, “No Mumma, you don’t even have time to look after our studies, you are so busy with your work.”

Do these statements ring a bell in your ears? There may have been times when hearing such utterances by your very own family members and dear ones may make you feel melancholic, flustered and frustrated. 

Could not have God made you a bit more perfect? Despite your intense attempts at catering to everyone’s needs or handling your work in the best way possible, there will be criticisms thrown at you. But, you cannot be perfect, in fact no human can, nor the ones who are pointing fingers at you, even though they may be perfect in the areas where you are imperfect, they are bound to falter at some point or the other. The moment you realise this, you are bound to sail on the ocean of your happiness without a tinge of doubt about your abilities.


How to apply Kintsugi to your Life?

Sufferings are a part of life- a heartbreak, a job loss, a loss of a loved one- pain is inevitable in every human’s life. Yet, these are the very moments which help us grow stronger. 

Remember the first time you felt the pain of estrangement and went through emotions of separation anxiety when you had to go to school leaving your mother behind? One, two, three days and you started accepting the new environment, got adjusted to it and even started loving it. Suffering may not bring in the love factor as the emotion is far too deeper, but it is capable of making you stronger.

The fact that you are not the perfect wife to your husband or a supermom like the movies for your children, should not deter you from finding and practising the purpose of your life. For it is these imperfections that make you what you are and it is by realising the beauty of yourself in all your flaws that would help you find the true purpose of your life. 

In order to practise Kintsugi in your life, you can adopt the following techniques that embrace the quintessential core of the concept.

1/5. Wabi-sabi
Wabi-sabi Kintsugi

As reiterated above, Wabi-sabi tells you to appreciate the imperfections and the negatives of life and move forward. Life is not a bed of roses, and there are bound to be ups and downs, but that does not mean we should crib and moan about the negatives. It is about living life,  by taking life at its stride and accepting its flaws instead of denouncing them. There may be people around you, who are negative and you do not like to mingle with them. Instead of thinking of their negatives, focus on your SELF and accept them as they are. 

2/5. Gaman
gaman kintsugi

The art of being calm and dealing with life’s worst circumstances is what Gaman talks about. It teaches us to be enduring by practising simple things like deep breathing and making our minds stronger. 

For example, if you are constantly having fights with your spouse over trivial things, calm your mind, meditate, introspect and find out the root cause of the issues. Circumstances of life are lessons to be learnt and to know how to react without losing your cool.

3/5. Eiyoshoku
Eiyoshoku Kintsugi

Food is the very basis of good physical and mental health and when you consume nutritious, tasty food, your body, mind and soul automatically gets well. 

Kintsugi believes in savouring good food to nourish your body and take care of yourself, for only when you love yourself, will you be able to love life and be happy. 

4/5. Yuimaru
Yuimaru Kintsugi

With Yuimaru you recognise your inner circle of friends and family members you can rely on. Even though you may have fights with your spouse or may have lost someone very close, you know, your spouse or your family members and friends are the ones who will stand by you and will be your strength in times of crisis. 

5/5. Kansha
Kansha Kintsugi

Finally with Kansha you feel grateful for the things you have and never regret the things you have not got in life. So you tend to rewire your own brain to take the learnings from all the experiences and feel grateful for the lessons learnt and believing that everything that had happened was for a reason. 

For example, if someone has hurt you for reasons that you cannot decipher and you feel you do not deserve, take it as a lesson that you learnt to know that person, instead of nurturing hatred and giving yourself grief. 


With Kintsugi, one can overcome life’s difficult paths, be resilient and see oneself in a better light, despite all the golden marks of imperfections and repairs. 


Writers Note: Please, at no time, one should hide behind the intellectual philosophy of Kintsugi ‘kintsukuroi’ and accept the flaws. Kintsugi simply helps you in your process of self acceptance thereby actualising self transformation. Please get in touch with a related expert to make it a part of your day to day living.


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Aashish Nanda

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