Wabi Sabi, the beauty of imperfection

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Louise Hay


Wabi Sabi, the beauty of imperfection

Wabi Sabi also refers to deeper and more inner concepts such as humility, simplicity and loneliness. A way of living in peace with oneself and with the environment.

Last update: 18 September, 2020

Wabi Sabi is a Zen concept that recalls the ability to see beauty in imperfection. It is an Eastern philosophy that is very successful in the West. Not only as a tool for personal growth, but also as a way to pursue a full and happy existence.

It is the art of harmony and well-being in imperfection, it is the ability to find beauty even in simple things. According to Leonard Koren, author of Wabi-sabi for artists, designers, poets and philosophers, it refers to everything related to traditional Japanese beauty and in particular to the pursuit of beauty in imperfect and incomplete things. Wabi Sabi is, in short, the acceptance of the unconventional.

It is important to remember that this concept does not only refer to external factors, but also to deeper and more interior concepts such as humility, simplicity, loneliness and even abandonment. It defines a way of living in peace with oneself and with the environment, starting from the simplicity of everyday life.

Origin of the Wabi Sabi concept

Wabi Sabi originates from the Buddhist concept of the three signs of existence, which states that everything that happens in nature is subject to three fundamental characteristics: non-self, impermanence and suffering.

It should be noted that it is also an aesthetic scheme comparable to the canons of beauty for Westerners, but which, however, has nothing to do with them.

The etymological origin of the word "wabi" refers to frugality and moderation that contrasts ostentation and luxury. More precisely, it is the opposite of extravagance and waste. While the word "sabi" refers to the serenity and tranquility that derive from age or intellectual maturity.

Therefore, the Wabi Sabi emphasizes beauty in imperfection, grandeur in simplicity, but without underestimating the decadence of the world where sadness and desolation merge into absolute melancholy.

Kintsukuroi, when repairing an object makes it stronger and more beautiful

It is possible to see a relationship between the concept of Wabi Sabi and the Japanese technique called Kintsukuroi, which consists in repairing objects by joining the pieces with gold. In this way, in addition to embellishing them, it makes them more resistant than before.

This also applies to a soul that has suffered a deep wound or an affront so great as to lead to the disintegration of the ego. The philosophy of Kintsukuroi teaches that adversity can be an opportunity to become stronger and more beautiful people, since the scars of adversity are a way of remembering that, despite suffering and misfortune, the individual always has the ability to renew itself in an integral way thanks to the power of resilience.


In psychology, resilience refers to the ability to deal with an adverse situation and come out strengthened. The person discovers within himself resources that he did not know and that help him to recover after a traumatic event.

For the resilient individual, a problem or a crisis becomes a challenge, an opportunity to grow and foster their personal development. Transmute pain into the strength needed to achieve new goals, move forward and regain balance.

Finding the way out in every adversity of life and recovering peace with oneself and with others are exceptional abilities of the human being.. As well as recognizing that limits exist as long as you believe in them or that to achieve what seemed impossible you simply need to work on them every day.

And above all, the ability not to be overwhelmed by problems, setting clear goals and believing in one's own strengths and in their achievement despite the difficulties.

Finally, recognizing that you live in a chaotic, finite and complex world, and despite everything being happy, is essential to enjoy life. Without necessarily anticipating the sufferings that existence itself brings with it.

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