“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” -Derek Walcott
They are different kinds of people. The vast difference in personality, beliefs, values, origins, and experiences of each person makes life a creative potter.
As it shapes us to be what we are right now, we gain our personal value as individuals. This value makes us unique. It also serves as a charm to face hardships in life. But it is as soon as life intended to makes us strong and firm, we break. The crevices of being weak are displayed in ourselves as a result. Of course, it is hard to show the signs of vulnerabilities to others. We sometimes thought we would be a good laughingstock or an example for the people to be aware of if we do. We don’t want that, so we tend to hide it within colorful designs and act as beautifully-made vases.
However, we are empathetic creatures. There was a story of a child who grew in an abusive family. His father was a drunkard. He physically abused him when he had enough of his whims. The mother did not bother to protect the child, so she left, abandoning his son. The boy had not experienced good things in his childhood. Then, he grew up.
In a convenience store, he saw a girl getting hurt by the hold of her guardian. “I’ve had enough of you! Why won’t you shut up!” the guardian shouted to the girl. Her voice was too loud that it sounds wrong to address a harsh tone like that to a little girl.
No one dared to interrupt but him. He moved forward and said, “What’s wrong, little girl. What do you want?” he calmly said as he kneels to see the girl up close. She wiped his tears and pointed out to a box of cereal.
He found out the price is affordable, yet her mother denied her wish. He patted the girl’s head and said, “Don’t worry, I will provide your daughter’s needs.” And then her guardian protested, “She’s no daughter of mine. This brat is my sister’s child. She passed away, so her daughter is handed over to me. You know you don’t have to spoil this girl. She’s a headache after all.”
Nevertheless, the man walked over the counter with the cereal and paid for it. He kneeled afterward and asked the girl, “Does this lady feed you in time?” The girl’s head shook side to side. He addressed the lady with a stiff tone in his voice, “Be responsible.”
The lady’s face etched with irritation, “Why the heck do you care anyway?!” she exclaimed. He turned his gaze to the little girl and said with a solemn yet sad tone of voice with a faint smile, “I saw myself in her.”
Empathy is one of our traits that makes us human. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is also a tool to connect with people who have the same scars. As we are different, we also have one thing in common: we are all broken.
Life is a creative potter, but its creativity comes with a price. We are naturally made for encountering and overcoming challenges. Along the way, we receive crevices and deep cracks, which signify how much struggle we have experienced. Through empathy, we could express our concerns and serve as a guide to others.
In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. The flaws are loved and accepted by others who see through your colors.
In romance, if you get to know your lover enough, you can finally realize their flaws. Their fears, imperfections, and tragedy in life will all bare in front of your eyes. Driven by love and empathy, we always manage to accept those flaws because we are also broken in some way. There are times our partner serves to be the reason why we changed. It’s as if couples patch each other fissures with gold.
In friendship, we bond with the ones who understand our feelings. It escalates to being a friend first, then to be a best friend, and finally to be a confidant who can be trusted with another side of ourselves. Why such a relationship evolve over time as we interacted more with our peers? In my experience, it is because we gradually show our vulnerabilities around them as time goes by. Shallow friends leave you for not accepting who you are, but real friends love what they see in you. True friendship forms through the help of understanding and acceptance.
Lastly, the most difficult to confront is ourselves. Why is it challenging to build compassion to yourself than to others?
Based on psychology, we have negativity bias going on in our minds. It means sticking with our shortcomings, past failures, and poor decisions. Studies also said that 80% of our processed thoughts are negative.
It is also because we longed for an ideal self. The self we wished to be and will be as we strive to get it. We hate facing our inner demons because it reminds us of how terrible and imperfect we are. We strive to be a beautifully crafted vase within the body of a broken one.
To achieve inner peace and happiness, we need to forgive ourselves first. Forgive yourself for all those incompetency we showed in work, all the failed tests we got or how you made your friends hated you. After that, admit all those imperfections are indeed your doing. Everyone makes a mistake, and you are no exemption. Live with it and learn through it. And lastly, throw away your ideal self and accept who you are.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line,” as the saying goes. How can you understand more of your friends, family, and lover if you do not admit you are not the broken thing that everyone loves and accepts. In the story earlier, the part where he said, “I saw myself in her.” the boy grew to be an adult who took his weak past self as a part of him. Do you love yourself of who you are, or are you going to hide it within the colors of deceit?