How long do you stay in a place where you don’t fit? How do you know when it’s not the right place and you should move on? How do you know when it is the right place and you just have to give it time? These are the questions we struggle with daily. Whether you’re pondering this issue regarding a home, a job or a relationship, it can be a battle within ourselves – a battle that, sometimes, feels like it has no winner.
We’ve all heard so-called experts say “you should enjoy your house,” or “find a job you love,” or “if it’s really love, you shouldn’t have to work at it.” Do these experts really believe that happiness comes that easily? If we have questions or doubts, does that mean it’s all wrong and we should just give up?
I agree that we should enjoy where we are living. Does that mean we can’t be disappointed in the paint choices? Is it wrong to want new gardens? If you move into your dream home with everything just the way you want it, how do you make it truly your own? Without putting work into it, how does it feel like home instead of rented space? I’ve lived in rented spaces (several of them), but I still found a way to put my own stamp on them. I may not have owned the place, but it was definitely mine. And it was home. Even when I was in an apartment as a very temporary place, a place I did not want to be, I found a way to make it fit – because that’s what I needed to do at that time.
Finding a job you love can be very difficult. Especially now. Many people will take any job they can tolerate, just to have some income. Many people who had a job they loved, suddenly found themselves disconnected from that job due to economic circumstances. So, if you love a job for 25 years and lose it, does that mean you’ll never fit in anywhere else? Is it impossible to find a fit at a job that isn’t what you wanted but you take it just to put food on the table? I’ve had different jobs (several of them) and enjoyed most of them for very different reasons. A few years ago, I chose to completely change careers. Without warning or much forethought, I left my profession of 16 years to do something totally different. I am paying on student loans for a degree that has virtually no connection with my position now. Does that mean I never fit in before, or I’ve lost that fit now?
Not having to work at a relationship is a concept I’ve never understood. Relationships are battle fields. Whether it is with a child, friend, co-worker, or spouse you’d better be ready to put some effort into making it positive. It shouldn’t be a one-sided battle (although, with children it sometimes has to be). There needs to be give and take, cooperation and consensus. Sometimes, even in good relationships, some parts don’t fit so well. Is that a reason to ditch the whole thing? If it doesn’t come easy and work out the first time, do we throw it all away? I’ve had failed relationships (several of them) and the agony over knowing when to keep working at it and when to let it slip away is the toughest part. There are friends that I miss and an endless list of what if’s, but I moved on because in the end, it wasn’t a good fit.
How do we know when we have found our fit? When it’s comfortable and easy? I’m not so sure. I think there can be great discovery and growth in the uncomfortable parts of our lives. I think there can be deep appreciation of things that don’t come easy for us. I believe the threshold of “fit” is very different for each of us, and it is ever-changing as we press on through life. It’s not just about who we are on the inside, it is about everyone we meet and everything we do. All these together make a complete picture of us. As we move through encounters in life we sometimes gain something new, or have something taken away from us. Either way, it leaves us a little changed. Therefore, where we fit once before, we may not fit as well as time goes on.
So, don’t get too comfortable. Learn to live in the uneasiness. Continually reassess where you are. And, don’t believe that a good fit is always easy, sometimes you need to move around in the space a little to see how you really fit in.
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