After a while, it comes to the point where we can’t bang our heads against the same wall anymore. Eventually, there comes a moment when we face the realization that no matter how hard we try, certain things will always be out of our control.
Take the idea of approval, for example. Think about the energy we spend in effort to seek approval. Think about the effort we put into outside validation.
Think about the effort behind people pleasing the and outcomes, which will often come up short.
I have a small drawer full of extra pieces from different projects I have tried to build or put together.
Do you have one of these drawers?
I have extra screws, still in the plastic wrapping, and extra dowels from furniture, some extra washers, nuts, and funny doohickey screws that I have no idea where they come from. All of the parts are from projects and pieces I have tried to put together and all pieces are leftover gifts from the furniture gods.
I am thinking about a time I was putting together a piece of office furniture in my loft. There were no worded directions. There pictures and lettered pieces, which all look the same to me.
There were holes for dowels and holes for interlocking screws and holes for screws of all different sizes. There were no words that say this goes there or that goes here. Just pictures and doohickey screws that I had never seen before.
I think life is very similar to projects like this and I will explain why. There really are no directions. We have ideas. We have a picture in our mind of how things look and how we want things to appear. Everyone has their own model of the world and what they believe the world should look like. This part is easy; it’s the building the model we have in our mind that’s the trick.
I sat down to build this piece of furniture, which was not overly huge. There were two pieces, both the same, so the idea was to build one and then the second piece would be easier, which it was.
Meanwhile, I was on the phone with a conversation that was not going the way I wanted it to. This was just an argument with someone that would have argued any point I said. We could not fit our thoughts together. Everything was forced, which shouldn’t be this way.
I remember mismatching the pieces because of their similarities. I followed the pictured instructions with a medium sense of confidence that all was going together properly. But of course, I was wrong in a few spots.
Shortly after, I ended the phone call because the phone call was going in the same direction as my project, which was poorly.
In all honesty, I hate these projects. I hated the phone call too. I hate the furniture company and their pre-cut pieces which may or may not fit in as smoothly as they’re supposed to.
I cursed the furniture gods for a while. I cursed a lot to be honest. I cursed about my phone call too.
I tried to place pieces together; however, the one takeaway that I have from this project (and the phone call) is if the pieces do not fit together smoothly, perhaps the pieces aren’t supposed to go together in first place.
There were times when I was positive some of the slats were supposed to assemble in a certain way. I tried to push them together, which, they did fit —but they did not fit easily or properly.
At some point, I had to dismantle the project and begin again, which I grant you that it was more than a little frustrating, but at some point, I had to cut my losses and realize that I was going about this project all wrong.
Same as I could not get that phone call to work the way I wanted, I could not get the furniture assembled the way I wanted, which meant i had to abandon my original tactic and start over.
Regardless to the similarities of parts or their appearance; certain pieces were simply not built to go together.
Once I stopped forcing my will and once I stopped trying to make things fit where they didn’t belong, the project went smoothly.
I learned that my interpretation is not always accurate. I learned that I cannot force pieces together. I cannot make things fit simply because I think this is how they are supposed to be. And above all, with all thanks to the almighty furniture gods, I learned that if things do not seem to fit properly—don’t force them because more than likely, the two pieces were not made to fit together.
I cannot force people to like or appreciate me. I cannot fit myself in and expect to be validated. I cannot seek outside approval and hope to be liked.
And it’s fine not to fit someplace. This just means I have to make a few adjustments with my plan of action.
I learned (and I am still learning) that there is a call for more finesse when creating projects like this. Life is truly the same way. We cannot force ourselves in positions. We cannot waste time making two parts fit together if they are built to be elsewhere.
I also learned that there is more need for finesse in my life. Perhaps I do fit. Maybe I just need to readjust my alignment and place myself gently instead of forcing my will.
I think this can be said for most people as well. I think life calls for a better attention to detail. However, sometimes we might find our frustration is high. Sometimes we worry about the pieces we come with and where we will fit them in the world.
And sometimes, we will put ourselves together, and just like with the furniture gods, after we put us together, we look around and wonder, “Why the hell do I have so many extra parts?” And then we might worry about the steadiness or the stability of our projects because of this.
Maybe we have a few screws loose, but hey, the parts I have are perfect to me. (And so are you, in my eyes.)
We spend so much time connecting ourselves to the outcome and concern for the picture on our heads that we forget about the focus on the effort it takes to create this project in the first place.
Sometimes we just have to take a step back, refocus, take a breath, and readdress our project with a different attention to detail.
The furniture gods have taught me that not all pieces are meant to fit. So don’t force them. Life is this way. Not everything fits. Don’t force it. Just take a step back. Dismantle, if you have to and then reassemble what you can.