I am thinking about this quote:
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places” – Ernest Hemingway
I was reminded of the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which means to repair broken pottery with gold or silver, in order to emphasize – rather than hide – the broken places. The philosophy behind Kintsugi is that such a vessel is even more beautiful than before it was broken, and that its “brokenness” becomes part of the whole.
It’s been 10 years since I had life-saving surgery that involved a five-week hospital stay, some of which was spent in intensive care. The experience changed my life. I have physical scars that have faded with time, but they’ll never disappear. But that chapter of life changed me in other ways that can’t be seen; it changed my views on wellness, life goals, and my own mortality.
I would say that it left me stronger. And while I bear the physical marks of the surgery, I feel more whole than ever before.
Sometimes our “flaws” feel shameful, like something to hide. But there can be great beauty in honoring the difficult experiences that have made us stronger, and integrating them into our sense of self.
Blessings, flaws and all,