When we were just kids adoring pretty much anything that interests our eyes, adults barely expect us to dig deeper and go all philosophical on things – to find any missing piece. For them, it was just a mere moment of childhood that’s meant to be experienced purely. Without any interventions, they would let us enjoy without putting any pressure to figure things out. Maybe this is how human relationships are meant to be – passing on unspoken wisdom by letting us go through the natural process of piecing the puzzle together at our own pace and own time.
We witness countless connections with other people in a single lifetime. Some are too insignificant to consider, while others become too consequential to shape the way we think and live. In some places, they prime people to believe this is the only way to live their lives fully. They strive to create as many connections as they can in their pursuit to find meaning or purpose. To find something, or someone, that would make them feel whole and complete.
As we grow older, gain more experience, and learn things the hard way, we realize that this isn’t always the case. We learn that while finding someone or something can make us feel complete, we have to face battles on our own to reach the fullness of life. I couldn’t think of anything else that could exemplify this notion but Shel Silverstein’s childhood classic book, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O.
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O.
Doesn’t it always happen? When we revisit unsuspecting stories from our childhood and find pearls of wisdom so impactful, we swift to a 180. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein is a tale about the journey of a lonely wedge finding a big circle it can fit into, hoping that when the lonely wedge finds its missing piece, they could roll together and move forward.
As it turns out, it is not just a story about shapes moving and passing through other objects. It’s also a story about becoming ourselves fully without waiting for someone to complete or complete us – to fix or be fixed by. In our search for someone to make us whole, we sometimes meet people who simply pass by to remind us that we have all that we need to carry on and live fully.
Some fit but couldn’t roll.
Connecting with others is what makes us human. Sometimes, we carry along people who fit right in but couldn’t carry on with us in our journey. We stick with people we can’t grow with. We become stagnant with them—a familiar setup for a relationship that often ends up disappointing. Then we move along…
One put it up on a pedestal… and left it there.
We also meet people who have distorted ideas of us as perfect beings. They’d often see no flaws in us and carry on without minding the things we need to improve on. When we become complacent in the comforts of someone who sees no faults in us, self-centeredness and pride get highlighted.
We become prone to settling out of convenience because we have someone who won’t mind us not growing. After all, they see no need for it anymore. Their admiration becomes a validation of our co-dependency. When these things become more glaring in a relationship, neglect starts to surface; and when neglect piles up, someone almost always ends up taking the exit door.
One day, one came along who look different.
We spend so much of our lives searching for someone who’ll make us whole. Sometimes, we find people who give us our turning point by not wanting nor needing anything from us. They become an image of who we want to be – complete. But these people, though imperfect, carry on with their lives thinking that they do not need someone to make them feel whole and complete. They work on themselves by not relying on their completeness from others.
Corners wear off, and shapes change.
Lift, fall, flop. Resting our happiness or contentment on someone is not self-worth. When we take the first step to move forward, we start to change. By carrying on and striving towards increasing our self-worth through experiences and learning from our mistakes, we polish ourselves to become more able to roll.
“It didn’t know where and it did not care… it was rolling.”
Thought, feeling, action.
At this point, we realize that the story is about the lonely wedge’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. Missing a piece as the thought, being lonely and unhappy as the feelings, and searching for the missing piece as the action, which then reinforces the idea that it is missing a piece when in reality, there isn’t any.
In life, we always look for neon signs pointing towards something. When we find one, we often ask ourselves what we have and what we can offer. Then fear starts to creep in because we think we are only as good as what we can offer. Whether it’s sheer modesty or downright defeatist attitude, we begin to think we might not have anything to offer.
The core belief that we are missing a piece or that we are not good enough continues to be reinforced. We embrace the idea of finding someone who would accept us despite being incomplete and seek their validation without actually doing anything to earn one ourselves. We get lost in this vortex, not knowing that we might not have a missing piece after all and that there is something we can offer – our authenticity.
Recognize your edges and learn to round them yourself. Easier said than done, but when you do so, perseverance will reward you. If all else fails, always remember that you are all good, whole, and complete.