Wabi-Sabi: the perfection of imperfection

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Louise Hay
@louisehay
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Immersed in the culture of social networks, where appearance matters more than essence, it is easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. Without realizing it, we not only aim to show a perfect picture, but we also want to have a perfect life.

The pursuit of perfection leads us to desire more and more control, to the point that living according to our perfect canons becomes a non-living. The relentless - and sometimes obsessive - pursuit of perfection, whether through possessions, relationships or personal achievements, often causes stress, anxiety, depression and leads to hasty judgments.



This is where the Wabi-Sabi invites us to take a break.

What is Wabi-Sabi?

Leonard Koren, an American artist, defined Wabi-Sabi as "the beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, the antithesis to our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, lasting and monumental [...] It comes from what is so delicate, soft, indefinite and subtle that it could go unnoticed considering it trivial or insignificant. "

Wabi-sabi (侘 · 寂) is a Japanese term used to refer to an aesthetic worldview. Literally it would be "the beauty of imperfection", so it is usually sought in natural elements and in those that have an incomplete or impermanent character. Instead of looking for perfect symmetry, we look for asymmetry, simplicity and naturalness.

Applied to everyday life, this Japanese concept encourages us to seek beauty in the imperfections of life, quietly accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay, accepting our "cracks", the ones that make us unique.

Kintsugi: the pride of cracks

The concept of Wabi-sabi has imbued the Japanese mentality so much that it expresses itself through different channels, including the art of kintsugi. When valuable ceramic pieces crack or break, instead of trying to hide the "imperfections", the craftsman fills them using a gold lacquer.



In this way the defect is not hidden but highlighted, because it is taken as an expression of the unique history of the object, a sign of its imperfect beauty. It's about drawing attention to cracks, using them as assets that add value rather than flaws to be ashamed of.

The interesting thing about Kintsugi is that it accurately shows the vulnerability and fragility of the piece, those qualities that we normally want to hide. But when they are brought to light, resilience and stamina are also highlighted. This duality is what makes the piece more beautiful because, for the Japanese, the charm lies in the fragmented manifestation of mortal destiny.

3 laws to apply Wabi-Sabi in your life

Richard Powell said that Wabi-Sabi is "a lifestyle that appreciates and accepts complexity and at the same time values ​​simplicity". To apply it in our life, he stated that we must understand these three principles or realities:

1. Nothing lasts. Life is unpredictable Uncertainty awaits us around the corner. But that unpredictability shouldn't be a cause for anxiety because when nothing is sure, anything is possible. In a world where we stubbornly cling to security and perfection, the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi can become extremely liberating, helping us see life with different eyes. We just need to be aware that nothing lasts.

2. Nothing is complete. Wabi-sabi takes us away from perfection because it assumes that nothing is complete, everything is constantly evolving. Everything changes and transforms, so there is no point in embracing the conclusionist mentality. In the philosophy of transformation, perfectionism loses its meaning. Then fleetingness and impermanence are celebrated, making the most of them.


3. Nothing is perfect. This Japanese concept encourages us to focus on the hidden blessings in everyday life, those little things that we take for granted and that brighten our day with their simplicity. Therefore, it is an invitation to celebrate things as they are, instead of as they should be. It encourages us to accept and embrace reality, with its imperfect beauty, without expecting it to be more or less than it is.



Expression of authenticity

Wabi-sabi is a conscious choice, an ode to authenticity. It represents a precious message filled with wisdom that encourages us to appreciate tranquility, harmony, beauty and imperfection, while strengthening our resistance to the attack of materialism and perfectionism.

This concept encourages us to relax, slow down and find pleasure and happiness in what we do. In short, Wabi-sabi allows us to be ourselves, accept our imperfection and that of the people around us, understanding them as the ultimate expression of uniqueness.

Of course, Wabi-sabi does not conflict with personal growth. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but we must not forget that the means, the social influence, the constant comparison with others - who we always perceive as better or happier than us - take our attention away from everything positive. that is in our life.


Therefore, we must make sure that as we pursue our dreams, we appreciate what we have and accept what surrounds us, with its glorious imperfection.

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