Showing our faults… to ourselves


The ancient art of mending breaks in broken pottery with gold, silver, or platinum, in Japanese, is called Kintsugi. The idea is to transform what we think of as broken into something unique, precious… beautiful.

A ceramic bowl, much like a broken arm, gets much stronger from the intervention. So much stronger, in fact, that it will never break in the same place again.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about my English friends – (I’m American) – is their self-demeaning manners. They tend to talk openly about their defects… even making light of them. In many other counties we don’t do this; we try to hide them.

In a book on management I just read, Why should anyone be led by you?, it lists as one of the principle ways to get people on your side, as a leader, is to own your weaknesses. Be blunt. Be forthcoming. Admit them and don’t try to hide them. Others can see them anyway!

Now, I believe this works not only at a business level, but (even better) at a personal level. If I find, for example, that I have a tendency to judge others, I should admit this, first of all, to myself. I shouldn’t keep stepping over the cracks in my character… hiding my shame… pretending they’re not there. If I do, I’m not only not fixing the cracks… I’m pretending the bowl isn’t broken at all. And worse, I get angry at others for pointing out the cracks. Talk about senseless drama!

Dear God, please help me not hide my defects anymore, nay!… let me highlight them… so I can see them all the more… and love them for what they truly are… simple conditioned behaviors I’ve hidden from myself. Once I bring them to light, judging others becomes a good judge of character; worries about money becomes a good investor; shyness with strangers becomes self-enjoyment.

Once we inlay our defects with priceless gold… look how beautiful they become!

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