I know you want to be perfect. And I know it hurts to know that you aren’t.

I know school told you that you have to get straight As to be acceptable, that your contribution isn’t sufficient otherwise, that your learning doesn’t count unless it’s of the highest order.

And I know that society tells you that you have to be thinner, to be prettier, to smile more, if you want to be successful.

I also know, that when you spend all your time and energy transforming yourself into that perfect porcelain doll everyone said you should be, you’re going to become hollow inside. And every element you add to your perfect illusion will feel like another nail in the coffin you’re being buried alive in.

Consider this pottery experiment.

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

From the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Kintsugi is the centuries old Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery.

And highlighting the imperfections with gold, silver or platinum paint.

The philosophy of Kintsugi comes from a broader Japanese aesthetic called wabi-sabi, which finds beauty in Buddhist concepts of imperfection and impermanence.

The fractures on a ceramic bowl don’t represent the end of that object’s life, but rather an essential moment in its history.

The flaws of its shape are not hidden from inspection, but emblazoned with golden significance.

Kintsugi reminds you that it’s the imperfections in your work that make it magnificent.

Repair requires transformation, and having a crack that runs the length of you, doesn’t make you any less beautiful. It only makes you – and your work, if you let those cracks show in it – more beautiful.

Unlike rejection, the obsession with perfection prevents writers from finishing or sharing their work with the world.

So, don’t hide your imperfections.

Draw attention to them. Reveal them and the beautiful things they signify. Paint them gold and make the world take note.

Kintsugi can reveal the beautiful things in us

". . . it was a thoughtful gift, and she said, 'This is to give you comfort and you can borrow it for as long as you want.'

And I broke it. I dropped it . . . it had a big crack in it, and I came back and I cried and said I've broken your really special rock that you lent me. And she said, 'It's no less beautiful. Why do you feel so guilty?'

And I said, 'Because I always do this. I always break perfect things.'

And she said, 'But now it has a story and that's even more beautiful.'

. . . later it broke completely open. I still have it and I still have a little chip that came off it, it sits on my shelf. And the inside is stunning. It has little blue flecks in it. It's not as shiny, it's not as perfect, but I got to see the inside and I knew the lesson; I broke something with a perfect exterior and it was even more interesting and beautiful on the inside."