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Day 94: Beauty in the flaws

January 16, 2024

Yesterday I wrote about the tendency to notice single flaws in otherwise perfect things.

We already know that letting go of this type of thinking provides the freedom necessary for joyful living, but it’s not always easy to let go.

That’s when I remembered Wabi-Sabi – an elegant Japanese art form that is also a life philosophy. It is more beautiful and intricate than I have the knowledge or words to describe here but I will do my best to convey it.


Wabi-Sabi encourages us to find the beauty in the imperfection.

The word Wabi started out with negative connotations, meaning mourning or sadness for a wish unfulfilled, but around the 16th century, the meaning changed to have more positive connotations of acceptance for things not having gone to plan.

Sabi is about the passage of time. It calls our attention to impermanence, imperfection and the natural deterioration of all things. It is about the beauty brought to things that show character and an internal life – something that isn’t seen the same way when things are artificial.

What does this have to do with joy?

I can’t think of a more beautiful or joyful way to see the world, it’s imperfection and the markings of the inevitable passing of time.

I can think of hundreds of moments where adopting this philosophy could bring more joy – most notably, the moments when I look in the mirror and see my aging face staring back at me as I judge my aging body.

The Japanese have turned this into an art form where imperfections for part of the piece or are elevated to even greater prominence if not intended in the original design.

Just thinking about this idea brings me joy and I’m excited about learning to bring this philosophy into my life.

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