These are My Scars, They Made Me Stronger: Kintsukuroi

These are My Scars, They Made Me Stronger: Kintsukuroi
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

Kintsukuroi is a method of healing emotional wounds. It is inspired by the ancient Japanese art of the same name used to repair ceramic objects.

The key to this method of Kintsukuroi consists not of concealing scars but rather embellishing them with gold and silver.

But in order for scars to exist, wounds need to first heal. This is something that we oftentimes don’t allow to happen due to our behavior.

We succumb to to things that alleviate our pain at first, but in the long run prevent our wounds from healing. We want to heal the wounds of others too quickly, without letting them scar over.

So today we’re going to be talking about a scarring process that begins with acknowledging suffering…

Don’t belittle my suffering

Stop telling me it’s not that big of a deal. Don’t tell me there are people worse off than I am. What do you know about emotions?

You have no empathy, you belittle my pain and underestimate my value and maturity. This is the same maturity that’s going to protect me from falling into the trap of comforting and complacent self-deceit.

A woman with long hair is sad.

I am a brave person. You will not see me fooling myself. I dare to look at my wounds, cleanse them and heal them. I dare to embellish my scars, since they are a sign that I am alive.

They show that I have lived life intensely and that I am willing to face all kinds of fears to continue living fully. I assure you that at the very least, I will not give up that intention to the darkness.

There is pride within my scars. Partly due to the fact that I have accepted that the time they have taken to form are a window of opportunity to learn.

My children will not repeat my pain, my friends will not feel alone and judged. The people I love will find an example to follow in me. An example that shows that there’s no need to fear life, and that you can overcome pain if you know how.

Despite the fact that we tend not to talk about it, pain is a part of life. Both physical and emotional pain. We have all suffered, without a doubt, and if anyone denies this, it is self-deceit. 

Haven’t you suffered too?

Look me in the eye. Look at my scars. I have been broken by love. I have felt the same pain that my daughter felt. I’ve cried over loss, cursed this senseless suffering more than once.

I look people in the eye with empathy and compassion. Because I care about what happens to the people closest to me, like you…

I have been able to pick up the pieces of my broken soul. I have picked up each and every shard and kept rage, resentment and rancor away.

After hitting rock bottom, I picked them up and put them back together, a task that has helped me understand what happened and how I’ve interpreted it.

Live intensely, without being afraid of breaking. But you shouldn’t worry. Your mind, just like your body, has an adaptation mechanism called the repair impulse. This mechanism takes on the task of healing our pain and embellishing our scars.

When your worst wound is of your own making…

I have analyzed what happened to me tried to rid myself of filters, false interpretations and deceit. No longer did I want to remain anchored to the pain and, in order to be free of it, I had to reopen the wound that pained me so much.

I thought it was already clean, but I was wrong. I had to clean it and as I did, I began to understand what happened.

Finally, I realized that I was my worst critic, that I had to understand what happened from a point of view of love and compassion.

I looked over what my wound meant to me and reviewed the conclusions I jumped to in my sorrow. The same sorrow which oppressed my soul.

People constantly try to convince us that we have to be happy. But no one talks about how we should handle adversity, how we can heal our emotional wounds and overcome the problems, both big and small, in our everyday lives.

Connect with your emotional strength

I realized that I had to connect with my emotional strength, that I had to learn how to analyze people, make decisions and handle adversity. I learned to get some distance, think differently, and see from a constructive perspective.

It was then that I understood that actions and courage are the engines of emotional growth.

Then, I analyzed my inner dialogue and got the ability to differentiate between things that can be changed and those that cannot. I accepted my inability to fight against titans, but changed everything that was within my reach.

Finally, I stopped trying to knock down walls and instead looked for doors. Eventually, I overcame my fear of the ocean and learned how to swim. I stopped cursing at the river and spent my time building bridges.

A woman painted in watercolor has her eyes closed.

I worked, I thought and I was brave… Also, I understood that fears could slow me down, but not beat me.

In the end of this whole process, I found the beauty that was reflected within my scars. These emotional scars say a lot about me and my strength. They speak of my ability to learn from suffering and overcome adversity.

My scars remind me that I’m fragile and strong at the same time. When I look at them, I don’t see pain. Instead, I see strength and everything I overcame…

When I look at my scars, I feel stronger, more secure and… maybe even happier… Maybe this is the secret to happiness?

“I stopped cursing at the river and dedicated my time to building bridges.”

a woman looking at her scars in a mirror

Transform your scars into lessons

I have decided to share everything I have learned. You don’t need to burn yourself to understand that fire can hurt you.

I normalized what was normal. I helped other people not feel strange and alone and instead accept that their suffering fit with the circumstances they were going through at the time. This is something reserved strictly for people who live and love intensely.

Nowadays, I show off my scars fearlessly, without guilt or shame. Some of the adversities I endured have been products of pure chance. Others were a different story.

Without being aware of it, at times, I have caused my own suffering with the decisions I made or chose not to make. With the people I didn’t analyze and the expectations I had or the disappointments I experienced.

Life, like ceramic china, is fragile and beautiful at the same time. Life can break on us at any time into a thousand pieces. But, likewise, it can be rebuilt. And, if we’re able to learn from what happened, we’ll become more beautiful and strong.

Sharing my lessons, my scars, my pain

Today I build a new reality. A reality where compassion, empathy and love have uprooted judgment, stereotypes and lies.

I form a part of this new reality, the reality where I can accept that I have suffered and that my soul has cried. But that not a single one of those tears was shed in vain. Since all of my tears, along with my scars, have taught me something I needed to learn.

Thanks to Kintsukuroi, today I am a stronger and more secure individual. Thanks to Kintsukuroi, I am not ashamed of my scars, my sensitivity, my fragility and my fortitude.

Some people believe that Kintsukuroi is an ancient Japanese technique used to repair broken ceramics, but they are wrong. Kintsukuroi is much more than a simple technique. It is an art, the art of healing emotional wounds.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.