Kintsugi: Filling in the Cracks of Your Life with Gold

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February 5, 2020

Kintsuig Fill in the Cracks Blog Tomas Navarro Header Photo

The time has come to get started on the biggest work you will create in your life, the most important house you will ever own, the home of your soul. Let’s rebuild your life with strong materials of confidence, self-esteem, and courage. I want you to be a free and confident person, and to achieve that, we need to work hard.

Begin by getting to know yourself. You have no idea what you are like or what you are capable of achieving. During the most vulnerable years of your life, people made you believe that you weren’t capable, that you couldn’t do things, that you didn’t know how to, and that you were worthless. They ignored you, overlooked your achievements, and punished you, and all that has wreaked havoc on your self-image. Look for silence and try to reconnect with your essence. Discover yourself, and explore yourself. It’s no easy task, I know, but that’s no reason to avoid it. Observe yourself without judgment, and get to know yourself a little better each day, the same way you would with a new friend, car, or house.

Start analyzing. Stop being afraid, stop worrying, and stop running away without looking back. Forget about fear, stop reacting, and start analyzing. That is the key: to analyze instead of reacting. Life is a dynamic process, which is good news because you can grow, learn, change, and above all gain confidence.

Contextualize what happens to you without rushing in your appraisals. Now you are capable of identifying when you are carrying out partial appraisals based on fear or a negative self-image that do nothing but activate your alarm systems and generate anxiety for you. The first step toward gaining confidence is understanding, the second is detection, and the third is management. Engage in rational thinking to avoid the tunnel vision effect that a closed and imperceptive mind has tried to contaminate your soul with. Simplify reality, and eliminate the fear factor. I propose an exercise of imagination. Imagine you are at a meeting expounding your point of view on a project, and that suddenly your boss takes out a piece of paper and starts taking notes. You don’t actually know what they are writing, but if you feel afraid, you will believe they are taking notes on the things they didn’t like, when you don’t really know. Perhaps they loved it. Or perhaps they have simply remembered a task they still have to do. So when you don’t know something for sure, don’t rule out any of the options, either negative or positive. This, precisely, is what tunnel vision consists of.

You have many more virtues than the ones you imagine, and you are capable of many more things than you may believe.

Learn more about this powerful practice of healing trauma in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

Tomás Navarro HeadshotKintsugi Book CoverTomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Tomas Navarro

Also By Author

How to Stop Turning Your Back on Your Trauma

We Suffer Ahead of Time

There is a kind of pain that is born from the anticipation of something that we know will happen but has not yet happened. We suffer a lot for things that have not yet happened. We anticipate, in excruciating detail, the pain of a visit to the dentist or a planned surgery. We spend several months suffering the pain of giving birth. We suffer for the death of a loved one months before cancer takes their life. We suffer for things that do not yet hurt, in such a way that when real pain does arrive, our body and mind are already exhausted.

Our bodies are wise; this we have said already. Our bodies and our minds feel the impulse to repair the damage detected. When we feel pain, we activate a repair system with the objective of recovering the balance lost. But we must take care not to end up like Peter in the tale of “Peter and the Wolf”: he warned so many times about the wolf coming, without it being true, that when it did truly arrive, nobody believed him. If we activate the alert mechanism in the face of pain ahead of the time, then, when we need them the most, we won’t have any resources left to cope with it. 

The source of emotional pain is often caused by:

  • Adversity
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment
  • Unexpected change
  • Judgments and thoughts
  • Reality
  • Imagination
  • Fear
  • Anticipation

Suffering and adversity are just part and parcel of life. Any day we might experience the greatest and most unexpected of tragedies. But what really matters is not what could or might happen to us—which can be just about anything—but what is actually happening to us. When we speak about misfortune and adversity, we must speak about probabilities, not possibilities, namely the likelihood that any of the adversities we are exposed to might occur. Is there a chance that a piece of space debris might fall from outer space and split my head open? I don’t have the evidence to deny it. However, if I am going to be afraid of anything, in my case it would be the cows I meet in the mountains when I’m out for a run because it’s far more likely that I will be trampled by a cow than get hit by a piece of space debris.

So, if you ever ask yourself, “Why me?” remember that we are fragile; that we live in a hostile environment; and that sometimes, with the behaviors and the decisions that we make—or don’t make—we are taking risks that can lead us to adversity. However, at other times, the cruelest fate hits us with adversity.  

Building a Wall Is Not the Solution

Some people think that the solution to live more at ease is to build a wall to defend themselves. Do not make that mistake; the wall will defend you from exterior aggressions, but it will also prevent you from enjoying the wonderful things around you. If you build a wall, you will prevent disappointment, but you will feel bitterly lonely. A wall can protect you from fear of change but will create an inability to adapt to different situations. The wall will provide you with safety, but it will also make you a person who is dependent on its protection; it will make you insecure and fearful of what will happen when that wall disappears. I encourage you to build, instead of a wall, a library full of resources to help you maintain the level of emotional strength that you need.

What’s more, when we attempt to protect ourselves by adopting strategies that are damaging, and when we wear armor, we disconnect emotionally from the people around us and from reality. Building a wall is never the solution because it will not protect us from that pesky space debris looming above our heads. Don’t forget: prudence is good, fear is not.  

Reflection Exercise

I encourage you to do an exercise. Analyze the pain you are experiencing and try to identify its source. Don’t leave it for tomorrow. Don’t click to the next site just yet. Just pick up a notebook and a pencil, find a quiet place right now, and reflect. Take action, because it’s up to you to do something about this. Nobody will do it for you. 

Learn more about this powerful practice of healing trauma in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

Kintsugi: Filling in the Cracks of Your Life with Gold

Kintsuig Fill in the Cracks Blog Tomas Navarro Header Photo

The time has come to get started on the biggest work you will create in your life, the most important house you will ever own, the home of your soul. Let’s rebuild your life with strong materials of confidence, self-esteem, and courage. I want you to be a free and confident person, and to achieve that, we need to work hard.

Begin by getting to know yourself. You have no idea what you are like or what you are capable of achieving. During the most vulnerable years of your life, people made you believe that you weren’t capable, that you couldn’t do things, that you didn’t know how to, and that you were worthless. They ignored you, overlooked your achievements, and punished you, and all that has wreaked havoc on your self-image. Look for silence and try to reconnect with your essence. Discover yourself, and explore yourself. It’s no easy task, I know, but that’s no reason to avoid it. Observe yourself without judgment, and get to know yourself a little better each day, the same way you would with a new friend, car, or house.

Start analyzing. Stop being afraid, stop worrying, and stop running away without looking back. Forget about fear, stop reacting, and start analyzing. That is the key: to analyze instead of reacting. Life is a dynamic process, which is good news because you can grow, learn, change, and above all gain confidence.

Contextualize what happens to you without rushing in your appraisals. Now you are capable of identifying when you are carrying out partial appraisals based on fear or a negative self-image that do nothing but activate your alarm systems and generate anxiety for you. The first step toward gaining confidence is understanding, the second is detection, and the third is management. Engage in rational thinking to avoid the tunnel vision effect that a closed and imperceptive mind has tried to contaminate your soul with. Simplify reality, and eliminate the fear factor. I propose an exercise of imagination. Imagine you are at a meeting expounding your point of view on a project, and that suddenly your boss takes out a piece of paper and starts taking notes. You don’t actually know what they are writing, but if you feel afraid, you will believe they are taking notes on the things they didn’t like, when you don’t really know. Perhaps they loved it. Or perhaps they have simply remembered a task they still have to do. So when you don’t know something for sure, don’t rule out any of the options, either negative or positive. This, precisely, is what tunnel vision consists of.

You have many more virtues than the ones you imagine, and you are capable of many more things than you may believe.

Learn more about this powerful practice of healing trauma in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

Tomás Navarro HeadshotKintsugi Book CoverTomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

In 2020, Find Your Life’s Purpose (the japanese ...

Why do you get up every morning? What motivates you to get out of bed every day? In Japan there is a term to describe our reason for living or being: ikigai

 

We all have an ikigai, even if we don’t know it. 

 

In fact, the search for an ikigai is what will bring large doses of satisfaction and self-fulfillment because when you connect with your ikigai, your life will acquire a meaning. Often we live a life that is full of appearances, possessions that appear to speak for who we are, jobs that provide much prestige but that we don’t enjoy, inherited stereotypes, scraps of other lives, and only superficial meaning. But that life full of appearances has a tendency to crumble and fall apart, and, when it does, it’s usually in the form of a crisis. For some people, the crisis that tends to happen in adult life is an opportunity to ask ourselves what our ikigai is and what the meaning of our life is. However, when you are suffering, it’s not the best time to find a meaning for your life, because from a place of lacking, everything is harder. 

 

Look for Your Ikigai

 

We have already established that at the very least you already have one ikigai, a reason to pick up your pieces. But I encourage you to think about what other ikigais you can find. Analyze the meaning of your life up until now and evaluate whether you need to redefine it. 

 

Sometimes, because we have good intentions, we mistakenly believe that our lives consist only of our children, partners, work, parents, or a long list of other things, but in reality, you must never allow all your life’s responsibilities to revolve around a single meaning or a single motivation.

 

I have many ikigais that I carry with me every day! I get up for myself and for everything I enjoy doing. I get up for my wife and for my daughter, for my clients; to go for a stroll, to go for a bike ride, or to get lost skiing in the mountains; to use my talent to remove psychology from the confines of the lecture theater, to learn and teach, travel, smile, and enjoy a kiss and a hug. Each morning I get up for the bear hug I will give my daughter, to feel the sun on my skin, to get drenched in the rain, and to curl up with a good book. I could fill pages and pages with my ikigais, though that wouldn’t make as interesting a book, now would it? 

 

An Exercise in Ikigai

To begin this exercise, ask yourself about the meaning behind what you are doing, where you are living, your work, your partner, your lifestyle, and your vacations. I encourage you to go over each and every one of the aspects of your life and to ask yourself whether they contribute to your happiness.

 

Start questioning the meaning of what you are about to do in each moment of your day. Even the mundane things! It may sound silly, but there is ikigai there!

 

What meaning is there in… Drinking a cup of coffee? Attending a specific conference? Helping a neighbor? In getting angry? In walking your dog? In writing a book? 

 

Moving forward, continue to ask yourself about the meaning of what you are about to do in any moment, and there you will start to discover your own ikigais.

 

Learn more about the powerful practice of healing trauma and finding purpose in Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Embracing the Imperfect and Loving Your Flaws by Tomás Navarro.

 

Tomás Navarro is a psychologist who loves people and what they feel, think, and do. He is the founder of a consultancy practice and center for emotional well-being. He currently splits his time between technical writing, training, consultancy, conferences and advisory processes, and personal and professional coaching. He lives in Gerona and Barcelona, Spain.

 

 

 

 

Read Kintsugi today!

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

 

 

 

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At a time when we’re marinating in trauma and dealing with the test of a lifetime, we all wish things were different. When what we want from life is a million mile march from what it actually is, it can seem like we need a massive intervention to keep facing what’s at hand. 

But research shows that small things can make a big difference. Just like stress is cumulative, so are the daily steps we take to grow and give.

Microdoses of bravery add up. To start, consider moving from asking what will the world offer me, to what will I offer the world? Tiny bits of strategic courage are sources of nourishment that can help you become what you want to receive. 

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is a tall order, but worth doing. Microdosing bravery can help us build the strength and stamina that helps us heal, create, and liberate from fear, despair, and isolation. 

Here are three ways you can experiment with microdosing bravery including journal prompts for reflection.

Worth the Risk - Be What You Want to Receive

 

BE LOVE. 

Loneliness is being called “the new smoking,” a modern health risk. For some, the global pandemic has strengthened relationships, allowing for bonding and teamwork like never before. For others, it’s wreaked havoc: leading to feeling smothered and stuck. For those living alone, distancing has been brutal, making love feel far from reach. Loss, whether through death, divorce, breakups, or other factors, singes our hearts. We can become avoidant and skeptical of our future potential to love and be loved. 

When we strive to embody love, it’s essential to keep an open mind and heart. Loving connections are protective factors to our well-being. Consider these microdoses of bravery to strengthen your relationships, your sense of belonging, and the co-creation of new love paradigms in your life:

  • Get real. Go through your friends on social media and make a list of all the real people in your life with whom you can be yourself. Make a conscious effort to spend time outside of social media. Thank them for being so real to you and vow you’ll do the same.
  • Spark connection. Initiate a conversation with a partner or friend to see if you can build greater intimacy or camaraderie. To improve your connection, ask them what would mean a lot to them, and offer your own thoughts too.
  • Seek affinity relationships. Write a short poem or essay about yourself to clarify your various identities and then seek an affinity connection. Invite that person for coffee. Don’t shy away from sharing yourself and nudging them to do the same.
  • Be innovative. Create your own bravery microdose to help you be love.

Take note:

Write down what you chose to do and reflect on how it cultivated love in your life. Consider sharing this with someone you trust to help you maximize your efforts.

BE HEALING. 

The level of trauma at hand has ravaged our lives, making healing feel elusive on a good day, impossible on a bad. Given the magnitude of suffering at hand, healing should not be trivialized as a three-step process. Healing requires enormous courage. Microdosing bravery can help us reach out and tap in to the many forms of restoration available to us.  

Understanding how resilience works is a helpful way to begin healing. Gone are the days when it was viewed as a character trait—something you’re born with or not. There’s a lot of hype about being gritty and never letting anyone see you sweat that gets in the way of us finding the right support. Here are some ways to microdose bravery to foster healing and build resilience:

  • Recognize you’re not alone. The biggest lie our difficulties tell us is that we’re the only ones dealing with such intense suffering. All of us are living in a global mental health crisis, with exorbitant pressures and crushing circumstances. Suffering is part of our shared humanity. Finding solidarity and safe community can serve as a catalyst to healing. As we get traction in our own healing process, our acts of courage can be nourishing and healing to those around us.
  • Self-advocate. Healing requires intentional change in our communication. Many of us are comfortable and willing to give help, but few are asking for it. Identify one trusted person in your life that you know has the emotional maturity and skills to listen and support you. Tell them what you’re going through and work with them to identify potential roads toward healing, such as therapy, strategic behavioral change, and targeted self-care.
  • Set boundaries. Untreated trauma and unresolved issues can haunt us and impair the quality of our lives. By paying attention to what we say yes and no to, we can ensure we are leaving space for growth after we’ve gone through significant stressors. Find language to courageously share what you can commit to, and what you cannot. Enlist support to help you firmly protect your time so that you can devote attention to healing and restoration.
  • Identify resources. Take some time to scan your direct environment for things that nurture and sustain you. Select one or two things that can be microdosed to build your bravery.

Take note:

Write down things that help you experience healing. How can you continue to build off this?

BE A LIBERATOR. 

Society can project a lot onto us, caging us into patterns of conformity that can become harmful. Freedom to live as our truest selves isn’t something that comes with safety or ease. The work of unhooking from social prescriptions and ills can be fraught and exhausting. Still, when we find the courage to call out injustice and fight for a more humane world, we can experience exuberance and help change paradigms.

When we strive to liberate, we realize that we must dismantle oppression. That we must advocate for inclusivity and human reverence, particularly for social identities that are marginalized and harmed. Constrained living hinders human progress, individually and collectively. Consider these microdoses of bravery to liberate from social constructs that are harmful:

  • Let go. Take inventory of so-called social “norms” and become less apt to cower in the face of social impositions that are dismissive and destructive toward “difference.” Embrace your own multidimensionality, and that of humanity.
  • Speak up. We all have opportunities to be active contributors rather than passive bystanders in the world. Practicing accountability means that we call out injustice and work to eradicate forms of human suffering and imprisonment—whether based on race, gender, orientation, age, place of origin, or other social identity categories.
  • Practice human reverence. Move from me to we. See the glory and wonder across the human spectrum. Honor varied identities and perspectives. Work to find and engage in diverse relationships, rather than staying insular or spending time with those that look like, love like, and think like you. Become a liberator by standing fervently with those who’ve been marginalized, oppressed, or discriminated against. Seek ways to forge change, bit by bit.
  • Break Free. Create your own bravery microdose to help you liberate.

Take note:

What do you need to be liberated from? Do you know someone who is struggling in a similar way? How might you join forces and work together to become freer?

Author Kristen LeeKristen Lee, EdD, LICSW, is an award-winning Behavioral Science and Leadership professor, clinician, researcher, activist, comedian, author of Worth the Risk: How to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World, and host of Crackin’ Up. She has over two decades of clinical experience in mental health, and twelve years of teaching and leadership roles in higher education, focusing on underserved populations. She leads the Behavior Science program at Northeastern University. For more, visit kristenlee.com.

 

 

 

 

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