Square peg in a round hole. We’ve all been there. A job, a relationship, skills not designed for the task, gifts not suited to your present position. Some of us live our entire lives doing something for which we were not designed. As a result, we hate our lives, our jobs, and where everything doesn’t seem to be going. So we force it. We force ourselves to fit the job; we meet its expectations with little inner celebration (unless there is a bonus). We force ourselves in relationships as well. We become what other people want us to be. We want to be accepted, approved, part of IN, and not OUT. Forced fit. Faked fulfillment. Forecast—failure. So how do we deal with square pegs and round holes in life?
There are at least three ways out of this dilemma.
- The first is to truly change yourself to fit in with your life situation, with your job responsibilities. People do it all the time. Some jobs are worth it; most relationships are worth it. Round peg: round hole. Of course, this course of action might require some painful whittling with a sharp knife to cut away parts of the former you. Most of us need some whittling of our rough edges & splinters. So ask yourself— Is this worth it? Do I really want to change in these ways?
- The second way to adapt is to change the shape of the hole to fit you. Square peg: square hole. You may need to change professions or career paths to utilize your skills and gifts. This, of course, may involve going back to school, widening your interests and knowledge base; even learning something totally new. What’s the phrase? —You can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Then stop thinking of yourself as an old dog. Maybe it’s time to try something totally new. Not just another job but starting something no one has thought of before. Fun!
- The third way out of this dilemma is to challenge the whole square peg/round hole metaphor. Come up with a totally different way of thinking. Maybe parallel alignment of tasks & relationships, or inverse polarity to achieve a desired result, or bunny rabbits out of hats. Alternative metaphors! Image your career, your occupation, from a new perspective. Just because someone gives you a round peg and says you have to force it into a square hole doesn’t mean it will work or that YOU have to do it.
The God who made us also designed us to be different from one another. That’s why we need each other (duh). Please don’t try to be like someone else…, especially me.
Have a nice week,
2 thoughts on “forced fit”
I’m glad you included the picture, Gary. It reminded me of a possible etymology of the “square peg in a round hole” phrase. As I understand it, when timber frames were constructed in the past, square pegs were driven into round holes deliberately. As the photograph shows, the corners of the peg are “painfully” scraped off by the non-conforming edges of the round hole. At the same time, the peg is sized by the hole itself as it is forced in by the blows of a heavy hammer. End result? a very tight fit which ensures a strong join–clearly the intent of the Builder. Maybe there’s a parallel in our pain-filled lives!
Dave, there are too many of us hammered into round holes. the result IS a very tight join. But there is no room left for growth or expansion. Gary