The beauty of our cracks
“There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in…”
“Anthem” by Leonard Cohen
I’ve spent almost all of my life trying to get rid of my “cracks” to be perfect, hoping that it would make me feel complete, satisfied and happy… What a surprise to discover that it is the opposite! The more I accept and love my cracks, the more I feel complete, satisfied and happy. What a joke!
But, what do I mean by cracks? And how can they actually be fundamental to being happy?
I consider “cracks” to be our physical, emotional, behavioural, psychological, and relational imperfections like fears, vulnerabilities, fragilities, wired behaviours, weaknesses, defects, failures, etc. All the things that we usually find fault with, things we try to hide. But, why do we do so?
Because we are afraid that if others see our “cracks”, we will be rejected, judged, left alone and therefore end up suffering. We are constantly busy contriving different strategies to be loved by others. This is our basic need: To be loved.
We start to consider the cracks as enemies of our happiness and try to hide, avoid, suppress or eliminate them. Not realising that in doing so, we develop self-hatred, because they are a part of us, and therefore we increase our own suffering. It is like trying to get rid of the pain of a wound by scratching it…
When do we stop hiding our cracks?
When we start to suffer because we are not ourselves anymore and feel constricted in the roles we play, which makes our relationships unnatural, requiring a lot of effort to be kept up. What a life!
It is only when the natural need to be ourselves emerges that we start to take risks and finally let our cracks be seen and felt. In the beginning, this is very scary; it makes us feel naked and shame or guilt can come to the surface.
“You are not worthy and not good enough, don’t even try, you are going to fail!”
“Whatever you do is wrong, give up!”
This is our inner child who has experienced rejection and has associated this negative event, or events, with being open and vulnerable. It is scared and thinks that being open was the cause of the rejection; therefore it starts to close itself off in order to feel safe.
The negative judgements become the tool we learn to use in order to protect ourselves from further rejections, but in the long run, they make us isolated and deeply unhappy.
What actually happens when we allow our cracks to be seen?
We start to relax and the people around us enjoy our company more, because they can relax as well, they can be themselves with their own cracks too! What freedom! What a joy!
It is like the Japanese art of Kintsugi in which the cracks of broken objects are filled in with gold. The cracks make the object even more precious and beautiful. This art celebrates uniqueness and imperfections as real beauty.
What are our cracks made of?
They are made of our life experiences which, like chisel blows, carve us and give us our unique form and beauty! When our heart is broken, it becomes bigger and wider every time. The cracks never really break it, instead, they increase our capacity to empathise and love and we become more able to understand and support each other.
If you think about it, all movies, art performances, songs, paintings, poems, novels etc. are all about our cracks. Why? Because they make us human and unique. Whilst perfection, control, order etc. make us less human, more constricted and repressed. Our differences disappear in the hopes of being accepted and loved. From being a unique piece of art, we become industrial products made in series.
A perfect imperfection
If we start to value our cracks, we learn that we don’t need to pay a price to be loved. The way we are is enough. To love and value our imperfections is the best thing we can do for ourselves and others. Life then becomes a beautiful and universal art gallery in which we can exhibit our cracks.
Human beings are pure works of art, walking, working, relating, talking etc. When we hide our cracks, we miss this beauty. When we open up, we start to really shine and see the same beauty shining through in others, we call this experience love.