The special Japanese art of repairing cracked and broken pottery called kintsugi has been practiced for centuries. The pottery artists use this technique to treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

By mending the broken pieces with gold dust, the pottery masters use this technique to emphasize the cracks, rather than disguise it.

It is believed that the crack adds special value to the ceramic bowl, as part of its history and proof of its usage and purpose. Hence, instead of hiding the flaw and the imperfection of a ceramic bowl, it is emphasized, highlighted with gold, adding to a greater firmness, value, and authenticity of the pottery.

This is what happens with objects, with techniques, and in art, but what about the people, their lives, cracks, and broken pieces.

What do we do, how do we act and how do we perceive crisis and difficulties?

How do some people manage to maintain physical and mental health, despite going through rather difficult times?

The answer to this question is given through the psychological concept of resilience developed in practice through work with people who went through crisis and trauma, recovered, and “mended” the scars with golden thread.

It is important to understand that psychological resistance or resilience is not a characteristic that people either have or do not have, it is a way of acting and thinking that everyone can learn and develop.

This is why psychology literature offers numerous studies that discuss characteristics of resilient persons, and we have decided to present only a few of them that have proven to be the most adequate measure of good adjustment to difficult circumstances and sources of stress.

First of all, resilient persons see each life experience as useful and important, and they see crisis, both personal and professional, as an opportunity for extending personal limits and strengths and as a chance for acquiring new skills and knowledge.

Also, people with a developed resistance to adversity will focus their attention, time, and energy on the issues that may be of help, such as:

  1. What can I do now, at this moment?
  2. What can I influence?
  3. What can I change?

By using these questions, resilient persons consciously take on the responsibility for their actions and focus on realistic expectations in line with the possibilities and circumstances.

And, most importantly, resilient persons treat themselves as someone they love – with care, responsibility, and kindness.

These persons know and they are aware that sufferings, difficulties, and challenges are a part of life and human existence. Therefore, when times are tough, they do not blame it on others, they do not hold on to guilt, but ask themselves the following questions:

Are my thoughts and behavior in this situation helping me or are they hurting me?

Is what I am doing right now good for me, for the people I work with and whom I love?

So, as kintsugi, the art of putting broken objects together, reminds us that the beauty is not in the perfect shape but in the use and purpose, we can give ourselves a chance to view our experience in these uncertain times through a prism of resistance and resilience.

Back to the top