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The shattered vase theory

In psychology, the shattered vase theory is used to explain the possible ways in which people react to negative (even traumatic) experiences. 


The life of the person or their worldview, values, belief system, etc is represented as a vase on a ledge. A negative experience is the equivalent of knocking that vase off the ledge, when it shatters to pieces. 

From here, some will be able to just pick up the pieces, put them back together and recreate the vase and make it look as though it never broke. 

Some others will be able to put it back together with a lot of difficulty, and when you look closely, there will still be the little cracks visible where the broken pieces have come together. And the vase, though it looks whole now, will shatter again at the slightest touch or a breeze. It's a lot more fragile now. 

And then there are others that don't put the vase back together at all, and simply create something new with the broken pieces, like a mosaic. 

The first way and the third way of dealing with a shattered vase are both perfectly fine. In the first case, people are flexible enough to withstand anything that is thrown their way and recover from it and carry on with life just like they used to. In the third case, they learn from their experience, they understand that things can't get back to the way they were, and they move on and live a meaningful life anyway. 

It's the second way that holds us back and makes us more and more fragile with time.

This is applicable in a wider way to every experience that we have. We can incorporate everything that we experience into making what comes ahead better. 

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