You are already perfect.

The Japanese have two very beautiful philosophies that have intrigued me lately. Not the kind of ‘intrigued’ one becomes because of knowing something to be weird or absurd, but more because it isn’t.

The two philosophies are:

  • wabi-sabi (侘寂 – acceptance of transience and imperfection) and,
  • kintsugi (金継ぎ – golden joinery, or kintsukoroi 金繕い – golden repair)

These two are quite intrinsically linked, wabi-sabi being the over-arching philosophy that kintsugi is an act of.

Kintsugi is the act of repairing a damaged or broken item with gold lacquer, symbolising that something can become more beautiful for having been broken.

A Japanese Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method
A Japanese Tea bowl fixed in the Kintsugi method

The beauty of this philosophy is that it finds very little beauty in perfect things, something we have been taught to love in modern western society. A tattered well read book is more beautiful than perfect one on the shelf, an asymmetrical forest is more wondrous than one of planted rows of pine.

Wabi-Sabi accepts change for what it is, and embraces imperfection.

Though what I found most intriguing is this kintsugi philosophy treats all imperfections, breakages, and cracks as merely an event in the life of the object rather than it being the end of the objects service, instead it chooses to highlight the cracks that symbolise its service rendered.

In life, I have always tried to be perfect. The perfect son, friend, lover, brother, or simply person. I have always failed at these by my own standards because perfection is such an elusive and unobtainable thing. Also, with my work of helping people live better lives, I am often faced with people who are struggling with accepting themselves and their imperfections. It’s difficult trying to show them the beauty of themselves when they keep pointing at the cracks.

You are already perfect, this has to be one of the most important lessons I could have learned or taught in my life.

We all go through difficult times in life.
We suffer heartaches and heart-breaks, yet we live.
We lose people we love, sometimes by distance, other times by death.
We get hurt by those we love, and we hurt from hurting the ones we love.
We are sometimes placed in extremely difficult situations.
We are sometimes in a place where it seems there is no way out.

But we live, we repair and we are here. I would never trade any of the pain and hardships I have had in life for a simpler life. Those pains have transformed me into the man I am today, and I might say, I quite like who I am and who I am yet to become.

Pain shapes and transforms you.
There is beauty in the broken. (tweet this)
May you find your best imperfections.

Eternal Smiles, Leo Gopal

Image credit: Lynnreck of Deviantart

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  1. That’s the point and beauty of Kintsugi. It acknowledges the unattainability of perfection and allows you to find the beauty in who and what you are, with your perfections.

    You can never achieve perfection because you already are, you just haven’t realised it yet.

  2. A sunset can be perfect. 2 minutes later it can be totally different, yet still perfect. Perfection is not a static state, rather an acknowledgement in the now if who and what you are in that now and being it fully. Ad you can never be other than you are in this moment, you must, in this moment, ( perfect.
    I choose to live my life by the credo :
    ‘I accept you exactly as you are. If you want my disapproval, you must pay me extra.’

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