"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." - Helen Keller
"Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are." - Rachel Naomi Remen
I just saw a friend's Facebook post, a proud mama whose kid is graduating from college and has already bagged a job. Congratulations ARE in order. After all, the young adult probably doesn't appreciate it enough yet, but mom and dad surely put in thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears to get to this proud day. And the young adult no doubt worked their butt off to get through college and get the job!
But then there are other college kids, graduating or not, who haven't found their 'fit' yet.
To them I say, please be patient. No worries. Don't compare yourself to those who seem to 'have it all together' (the surface you see is never the whole story). That pressure could cause you problems leading to getting stuck.
I talk to adults of ALL ages every day who are dealing with this issue of 'fit'. I've dealt with it my entire life. The truth is: all of us are struggling with 'fit'. Especially at various junctures in life, such as the transition from adolescence to adulthood and from one job to another, from single to married, etc.
So just what is this 'fit' thing I seem to be harping on here?
I'm not referring to clothing, although the analogy 'fits'. It's the process wherein we put the clothes on and see how they look on us. As in it looked great online or on the model but on me...not so much! Where we take the 'test drive' to see if something or someone really 'works' for us. This is why wise animal rescue agencies give potential owners a trial visit with an animal they are interested in.
Everyone wants to 'fit' in. And this isn't all bad. But if we are working overtime to 'fit in', maybe the real challenge is to nix that and focus instead on what fits us.
The 'fit' I am referring to is finding one's sweet spots in life. In one's career. In loving oneself and enjoying oneself, even when alone. In finding a life mate. In keeping a love mate (yes love is easy to find, not easy to keep). In a home or in a neighborhood. In an exercise or diet routine. I could go on and on.
And it isn't fair for those whose 'fit' comes easier to judge those who don't find 'fit' so easily. To hold humans up against this unrealistic ideal.
For example: making the launch into adulthood can be challenging enough. Add in something like depression, anxiety or both and it can become that much more challenging.
Fit is when you love what you do. And you do it, regardless of outside pressures. Like me: others 'wished' I'd study law or something else, but I, through getting to know myself found the career I've loved for almost 40 years now: psychology.
So what if I haven't gotten rich or saved enough for retirement (yet) or haven't bought the best car or house: I've been very fulfilled AND perhaps just as important: I've not just TAKEN from the world and society and my community, but in doing what I love and what I'm good at and enjoy doing, I've GIVEN so much back.
I didn't discover psychology overnight, however. It took me many years post-high school to commit to a career I knew I could sink my teeth into for the long term. I'd call that wisdom, don't you? If I'd gone into a career right out of high school it may have worked out but I suspect I would have needed to adjust, given that I didn't know myself nearly well at 18 to know what would fit best for me.
In fact, for those of you still wondering what you want to be 'when you grow up', I didn't return to college (after withdrawing at 18) until my early 20's, after a few years of travel, love and learning about life and myself. Then I whizzed through to my BS and my MSW by 30! Well it wasn't that easy, but you get my point. I studied in a very focused way once I knew what to focus on.
So if you are a parent and you are 'wishing' your child would do this or that, wish instead for them to find their niche, find their 'fit'. Your desire - even if you think you aren't but you are in some implicit way conveying that to your child - could be putting pressure on them to be something they aren't. And that can come with it's own set of trials, resentments, etc.
HERE'S THE WAY TO GO: Let a kid choose, then they have no one to blame but themselves. I am not being flip, I am being serious! This is the way it should be. Everyone of us should be free to be responsible for our own lives. Because that's where INNER satisfaction is born. That's where REAL-NESS and TRUTH come to be.
And if you are the young adult reading this and you feel you are letting your parents down because you fear you won't make them happy OR you just know you can't (or truly don't want to) match up to their ambitions, just know that your parents most likely would rather you be happy more than any of that!
Neat, isn't it?
This GUIDING OTHERS IN A SUPPORTIVE WAY is the only way to help others find their 'fit' in life. We can't do it for them and we can't give it TO them, but we can support and guide them to believe in themselves and their natural desires and talents, so that they can feel confident to develop them and persevere through all the inevitable highs and lows of a career and of a life!
Yes, it is frustrating to see someone struggle or seem stuck. But it's a DEVELOPMENTAL thing, usually. Meaning: it's a life stage challenge that one needs to go through and figure out. The result is that we become more resilient.
So, stand by your friend or family member. Let them know you love them and you believe in them. Let them know you are there and don't over work to 'fix' them. They will appreciate you, even more...