Friday, January 15, 2021

Where Do You Fit In?


I think the biggest decision we all have to make in life, or end up making whether we realize it or not, is whether to become part of the machine or to become an individual. To become part of the machine means to allow the world to shape you to what it wants you to be, to be whatever cog it needs. In return, of course, the machine will take care of you because you are useful to it, and if you manage to become one of the bigger cogs in the machine, it will give you preferential treatment. But ultimately, even the biggest of cogs are using their energies not for their own purpose but for the purpose of the machine. The only reward is to the ego and a false sense of safety and belonging.

 The alternative is to shape yourself according to what you internally feel you are meant to be.

 It's never so simple as choosing one or the other. As much as we may strive to be individuals, sometimes the screeching of the machinery when we are not fitting in makes it almost impossible to hear one’s internal voice. We all begin life as young spirits dumped into an existing machine that automatically tries to assimilate us. It takes a lot of life experience before we realize what we’re dealing with. Some seem to be born independent and confident in the message their internal voice is telling them, but for most of us it’s a process.

 If I may use an imperfect metaphor, it’s like being a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and trying to figure out where you belong. If we try to fit in, we allow a childish hand to force us where we are not meant to be. We allow the concave and the convex and the sharp-edged parts of us to get distorted and smashed. When you choose to be a part of the machine, you do not find where you truly belong but end up where you think you should be, where someone tries to shove you. And we do this with the best intentions, believing that we are being helpful by being compliant. But ultimately, by doing so, we end up damaging the whole. Imagine looking at a puzzle where some pieces are wedged in where they don’t belong. Not only do the pieces not fit well, the entire image is off.

 The good news is those parts of us we have cut off or damaged are inclined to resuming their original shapes. Because this is an imperfect metaphor I am using and we are not just pieces of a puzzle. And that empty spot that we were meant to fill is always going to be there, waiting for us.

 When you are trying to be what others are telling you you should be, you lose the place you were meant to be. It’s tempting, often overpowering, and you will certainly find yourself in the wrong place from time to time. The important thing to remember is that when you’re in the right place, you won’t have to force it. The pieces next to you will be receptive and not demand that you change in order to accommodate their needs.

 Don’t be afraid to try yourself out wherever you feel you might belong. If you are listening to the voice inside, you will know what feels right. And you will learn to tell the difference between those who want you to be who you are and those who want you to be what they want. And when in doubt, take a step back and consider the overall picture. It should be beautiful.

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