Life’s Cracks are Part of the Overall Beauty

Life’s Cracks are Part of the Overall Beauty

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There is a Japanese philosophy called “Kintsugi” which consists of mending pottery. A lacquer resin is mixed with powdered gold and used as a type of glue to attach broken pieces of pottery back to a whole form.

As a philosophy, it speaks of breakage and repair becoming a beautiful part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise or pretend never happened.

To some in Japanese culture it is believed that this type of pottery is even more beautiful than the original piece.

As we honestly examine our own lives we will notice we all have broken places or chipped pieces, which can often be the results of the actions of others through no fault of our own. When it comes to sexual abuse, this is true. However, all is not lost.

As we consider the wise philosophy of Kintsugi as an analogy to our lives, there are three important lessons that can be learned:

Worth Does Not Diminish

Just like the broken pottery that has great worth, you too have great worth. No matter what was done to you, you are valuable. You are beautiful inside and out.

Your life is like Kintsugi. Your cracked pieces are part of the person you have become. However, they do not need to dominate your life. With help from professionals and constant practice of the five key strategies (found under our online resources), you can overcome and live the life you always dreamed of.

Broken Pieces can be Mended

Just as the striking gold glue mends the cracks and broken pieces of the pottery, the five key strategies are the glue that mends all of your pieces.

These five key strategies include the following:

  1. Awareness: Becoming more fully grounded in the reality that the only time something can actually happen is now, in the present moment. Also, learning how to develop a healthy relationship with time.
  2. Acknowledge: Accepting the truth no matter what. Meaning one has accepted the fact that recovering from sexual abuse trauma is an ongoing process and not a one-time event.
  3. Power through Surrender: Using the concept of surrender to help understand when and what to fight which empowers us to set the course for a better life.
  4. Mindfulness: The ability to focus on empowering thoughts and feelings while choosing to co-exist with non-productive thoughts and feelings.
  5. Faith: The act of moving forward on your belief that wholeness and healing is possible.

These strategies, mixed with help from a professional, will allow you to reclaim hope and mend all your broken pieces. It will take time, but recovery is never impossible. You were meant to have an amazing life full of happiness and joy. You can overcome your trauma.

Beauty can rise from the breakage

Remember, in many cases the Kintsugi dishes were valued higher than their original form. Similarly, the experiences you go through create your entire being. You can rise from the breakage becoming even more beautiful than before. You are a survivor, not a victim.

We do not celebrate the fact that you were abused, but we absolutely celebrate the wonderful person you have become and will become as you continue to create your real life version of Kintsugi.

 

Your Brain And Trauma

Your Brain And Trauma

Your brain is powerful, tries to protect you, and keep you safe. But it’s through a better understanding of your brain that you’ll understand what you need to do, and why, to help yourself heal.

Understanding these two parts of your brain (the limbic system and the frontal lobe) and how they work together may give you insights into your healing journey.

The Limbic System

The limbic system is where our fight, flight, or freeze instincts and pleasure centers live. These pleasure centers are extremely powerful in driving our behaviors and can lead to addictive, compulsive, and self-defeating behaviors unless understood and managed. It’s common for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to use these types of behavior as a way to compensate for the abuse. The limbic system begins to make you think that you can’t survivor without your addiction, compulsion, or self-defeating behavior.

If the limbic system is unrestrained, as is common after experiencing trauma, it can rule a person’s life without them fully understanding what’s going on. When trauma occurs early in life and, sexual abuse trauma particularly, this part of the brain can become wired to view the world through the lens of fear. When this happens, the world becomes an unsafe place to live.

It’s important to understand that where fear lives, the limbic system, there is no ability to distinguish the concept of time. It can’t tell the difference between a past event, a present event, or a future event.

The limbic system doesn’t respond to orders and demands. It’s why telling yourself, or someone else to forget about the past and move on or stop feeling a certain way is no more effective than telling a two-year-old to share his favorite toy and be happy about it (as if it were an easy thing to do).    

The Frontal Lobe

In contrast to the limbic system, the higher functioning part of the brain, known as the frontal lobe, is the more logical part of the brain.  

This part of the brain is in charge of abstract thinking, analysis, and regulating behavior. It is the braking system that stops you from acting out on the cravings and compulsions that originate from the limbic system.

This brain area governs social control, such as suppressing emotional or sexual urges. The frontal lobe is where our morals and values come from, the sense of right and wrong. It also mediates between conflicting thoughts, makes choices between right and wrong, and predicts the probable outcomes of actions or events. However, this part of the brain can be easily manipulated by the limbic system because the limbic system has significant influence. To heal from past trauma, it is critical for the frontal lobe to stay active.

Working Together

Understanding the relationship between these two parts of the brain is critical for the healing process. For example, a person can receive a cue or influence from the outside world from any of the five senses: sight, sound, hearing, touch, or smell. All of these stimuli travel through the limbic system before they can reach the frontal lobe. If some stimuli is associated with a traumatic event, then it can trigger a survival response even if the person isn’t in danger. It’s similar to the response of a tiger when it feels threatened. By natural law, the limbic system takes over because its job is to keep us alive.

Without certain strategies, the limbic system can overpower and override the frontal lobe. Learning to manage these normal feelings in a healthy way is what the healing process is all about.

When you more fully understand how the limbic system works, how vulnerable it is to certain influences, how easily it’s triggered, and the language it uses to communicate, then you can tap into the productive power of the limbic system.

The core issue, restoring a trauma survivor to health, is to help create a healthy balance between the front lobe and the limbic system.The limbic system needs to trust the frontal lobe. As the frontal lobe becomes more familiar with the limbic system and the language it uses to communicate, trust can be built, and healing possible.

 

Your Responsibility to Find Healing

Accepting responsibility for your healing journey can be difficult. The abuse was not your fault. You did not choose it, so why should you be responsible for fixing it? Those sentiments are understandable. But regardless of what others have done to you, you have the right to choose happiness and wholeness. Your healing journey is your responsibility.

Mental health is about learning to accept reality at all costs and then doing whatever is necessary to manage it. You can do it.