There is a Japanese art farm called kintsugi that involves mending broken pottery with a mix of lacquer and powdered gold. This serves to emphasize, instead of hide, the flaws that a piece possesses, and make them beautiful. As a philosophy, kintsugi focuses on embracing the imperfections of an object, and acknowledging that its blemishes only add to the history behind it, rather than taking away from what it was or could have been.
Just about everyone finds it difficult to embrace their own flaws. I am particularly guilty of this. I have struggled with anxiety for several years, and sometimes I have trouble remembering that my anxiety is not a weakness or limitation. Everyone has their struggles, and mine come in the form of panic and self-doubt, and the belief that no matter what I do, no matter how many times I succeed, it will never be good enough, because I am bound to fail at some point.
What I have since realized is that even if—and when—I do fail, I will keep moving forward. Any struggle can be surmountable if I am willing to accept what has gone wrong and understand that it adds to who I am as a person, instead of limiting what I can do. I can look back on the difficult times and think, "Hey, look at all the tough times I've been able to get through with success", rather than, ”Look at all the bad things that have happened."
This brings to mind the image of a soldier in training. Drill Instructors are often brutal, but they push their cadets to their limits to show them how much they are capable of. One might say to another, "Wow, that sucked, I can't believe he made us run fifty laps." but it served to show the trainee that he was capable of running those fifty laps, even if he had to struggle through them. Then, the next time the drill instructor makes them run fifty laps, they might say, "Well, we’ve made it through this once already. It can only get easier from here."
Struggles are not limitations to be disappointed with, nor burdens that we must regretfully carry. Struggles are to be embraced, as kintsugi embraces broken edges, for our struggles are what characterize each and every one of us. Struggles are proof that we have gotten as far as we have, and that we will only continue to move forward.
Anonymous Author December 9, 2015