Our journey to Self-Acceptance and Self-Love
On our journey towards self-acceptance and self-love, the ancient Japanese philosophy of “Wabi-Sabi” provides us with some profound and loving guidance. In a world that is obsessed with perfection, where our Instagram feeds and on-line and off-line magazines are overflowing with flawlessly filtered photos and perfect images, the pressure society puts on all of us to “be this certain way” can leave us feeling flawed, unworthy, and never enough.
Wabi-Sabi, on the contrary, is centred around the acceptance, the beauty, and the celebration of what is natural, transient, and imperfect. It asks us to embrace the flawed, the incomplete, and the fleeting; to accept the deterioration and transience of both human and material existence and to find the beauty within it all.
Let’s have a closer look at what Wabi-Sabi is and how it can guide and support us on our journey to self-acceptance – accepting all of who and what we are – and cultivating profound self-love along the way.
What does Wabi-Sabi mean?
Wabi-Sabi is often described as “Wisdom in Simplicity” and in many art books it is defined as “Flawed Beauty”.
- Wabi means simplicity, impermanence, and imperfection. It can also refer to all the quirks and anomalies that can occur in the process of designing or creating an object that makes it unique and more beautiful.
- Sabi, on the other hand, refers to the beauty and serenity that stems from the patina of age, or any visible repairs, and to the concept that changes made to an object because of its use, make it even more beautiful and valuable.
How Wabi-Sabi Guides Self-Acceptance
Wabi-Sabi teaches us that all those blemishes, cracks, and signs of wear and tear on an object are not to be hidden but celebrated. They are not marks of ugliness or uselessness; they are evidence of use, evidence of a life lived. It is impossible to ignore the parallel to our human journey, don’t you think.
1. Embracing Imperfections: Just as a ceramic bowl mended through the art of Kintsugi (a method of repairing broken pottery with lacquer and powdered gold) that becomes more beautiful because of its cracks, we too become more valuable and more unique due to our so-called flaws and all of our experiences. Wabi-sabi teaches us that flaws, asymmetry, and irregularity are sources of beauty and attractiveness, rather than marks of inferiority or deficiency. Accepting our imperfections means acknowledging that we are human, and that all of our mistakes and all of our flaws are part of our human experience. Through self-acceptance, and embracing our own imperfections, we cultivate a sense of humility and gratitude, and learn to understand and appreciate the unique qualities of each person, object, and moment.
2. Valuing Transience: The truth is that life is fleeting, and change is the only constant in life. Wabi-Sabi teaches us that nothing lasts forever, and that the natural cycles of birth, growth, decay, and death are essential to the richness and diversity of life. This concept teaches us to appreciate and treasure every single moment just as it, as it unfolds in all its imperfection, without clinging to the past or worrying about the future. By doing so, we learn to let go of all our attachments, our expectations and our regrets and live in harmony with the natural flow of life.
3. Appreciating the Natural: Wabi-Sabi teaches us that nature is the ultimate source of beauty and wisdom, and that by observing and imitating its cycles, rhythms, and patterns, we can achieve a sense of harmony and balance in our lives. By embracing and connecting to nature, both in our surroundings and within ourselves, we can develop a sense of awe, wonder, and reverence, and realise that we are part of it all. Wabi-Sabi reminds us to respect and accept our natural bodies, our natural selves, and to resist and detach ourselves from the societal pressure of the artificial and unreal standards of beauty.
Wabi-Sabi and the Path to Self-Love
Understanding and integrating the principles of Wabi-Sabi can really help and support us on our journey towards self-acceptance and self-love. Here are some ways…
1.Celebrate Your Uniqueness: Recognize that your imperfections, your quirks, your peculiarities, your differences are not your shortcomings. They are what make you unique. Embrace them. Celebrate them. You have a unique story to tell; you have a unique song to sing. Stop trying to be somebody else and fit into somebody else’s boxes. You are You, claim your uniqueness
2. Practice Mindfulness: Strive to live in the present and practice mindfulness – be fully present and aware, find beauty in each moment. Mindfulness can help you appreciate the beauty and value of every experience, whether it’s a simple pleasure like drinking a cup of your favourite tea or experiencing a breathtaking sunset. By focusing your attention on the present moment, you can let go of all those worries, regrets, and distractions, and connect more deeply with yourself and others.
3. Simplify your life: Reduce all your clutter – yes, all your physical, emotional, and mental clutter. By decluttering your home, your schedule, and your inner space, you can create beautiful new space for all the things that matter to you the most, whether it’s spending precious time with your loved ones, pursuing creative hobbies, or simply enjoying the present moment.
4. Embrace imperfection: Stop striving for perfection and embrace the beauty of imperfection instead. This can mean celebrating all of your quirks and idiosyncrasies, appreciating the unique character of handmade objects, or simply finding joy in all the unexpected twists and turns of life. By embracing imperfection, you free yourself from all the pressures of comparison and needing to conform at all costs.
5. Be Gentle with Yourself: As you journey through life, remember that you are an amazing work in progress. Give yourself loving space to just be you. Act in kind, understanding and compassionate ways towards yourself no matter what happens; no matter what happened back then. Know that just like a beautiful piece of art, you are more interesting and more precious with every experience and every passing day.
6. Disconnect from Materialism: In a society that places undue emphasis on material wealth, Wabi-Sabi teaches us to appreciate simplicity and the intangible wealth of experiences and relationships. Letting go of the need for material perfection can free us to experience the deeper, more meaningful aspects of life.
7. Learn from Nature: Spend time in nature and appreciate its beauty and wisdom. Being in nature can help you to cultivate a sense of awe and gratitude. By observing the seasons, the patterns of the sky, and the diversity of flora and fauna, you can learn valuable lessons on acceptance, natural, transience, imperfection, and resilience. Learn to see the beauty in the natural cycles of growth and decay in your own life. Reject societal expectations of artificial beauty and celebrate your natural self, in all its transient, imperfect glory. Self-acceptance – accepting yourself just as you are, perfectly imperfect and unique – creates deep self-love and peace within you.
Simply living the Wabi-Sabi Way
To truly embrace the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi…
- Slow down: Take the time to slow down, to appreciate the moment, and to find beauty in the everyday.
- Simplify: Declutter your physical, mental, and emotional space. Let go of all those things, and all those thoughts, that do not serve you. Embrace simplicity.
- Connect with Nature: Spend as much time as you can in nature. Observe and appreciate all of its beauty and its transient, imperfect patterns.
- Practice Mindfulness: Cultivate mindfulness and stay present. This can help you appreciate the transient beauty in every moment.
- Create: Be creative. Engage in creative activities. This can help you to appreciate the process and the beautifully imperfect, unique outcomes of your creation.
The concept of Wabi-Sabi, with its love for the imperfect, the transient, and the natural, offers a powerful antidote to the societal pressures of artificial perfection. As we learn to embrace our flaws, appreciate the present, and value the natural, we embark on a profound journey towards self-acceptance and self-love. In a world that persistently prompts us to seek perfection, let’s learn from Wabi-Sabi instead. Let’s celebrate our imperfections, let’s honour our uniqueness, let’s treasure our beautiful, transient lives.
Embrace yourself. For you are beautifully, and perfectly imperfect. You are transient. You are natural. You are, in your unique, individual, and amazing way, a wonderful work of art. And above all, you are worthy of love – especially your own.
You may also like to read: https://fragranceofbeing.com/why-self-love-is-a-journey-not-a-destination/
Know that you are, in your unique, individual, and amazing way,
a wonderful work of art.
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Fiona Elizabeth is a Teacher of Beingness and Self-love leader. She has a Master in Metaphysical Science and is a certified Metaphysical Practitioner, Ordained Minister, Spiritual Counsellor, Shadow Worker, and Journal Therapist.
“My mission is to hold a safe, nurturing space for you to grow and live a life that is grounded in self-love, self-knowledge, self-transformation, and spiritual alignment. Teaching and sharing self-love and spiritual practices that nourish your needs, mind, and heart, and support you in aligning with your highest self and purpose. “