Do You Feel Like A Square Peg In A Round Hole?

By September 25, 2016Musings

Square peg round hole

I was talking to someone the other day who was lamenting the fact that they just didn’t “fit in”.

My question was: why did they feel they didn’t fit in, and why did they feel a need to fit in?

Every day we’re faced with decisions about where and why we want to fit in.

We ask ourselves questions like:

Am I dressed for the occasion?

Will people “like” me (both online and off)

Will I be seen as too loud/quiet/agressive/assertive/passive/tall/short/opinionated/meek…well, you get the idea.

And who determines the fit-in-edness in a particular situation?

When we spend too much time worrying about what others will think, the real focus should be on what we ourselves think.

The quote “this above all: to thine own self be true” is one that my mother quoted all the years I was growing up. She wrote it in the cards she gave me. She inscribed it in books. She reminded me in words, when the worry of “fitting in” overtook my mind and caused me to think I needed to be – or look like – something I was not.

This above all

I believe there’s a difference between going against the grain because that’s who you are, and doing so for the sheer sake of going against the grain. When someone strives to be a square peg in a round hole for shock value or to acquire a rebel renegade persona when that’s really not their own true self, that’s the flip side of the “fitting in” coin.

We’re in a kaleidoscope world right now. Things aren’t always what they seem, and the rules of the game change all the time.

We can be chameleon-like and adapt to change without losing the essence of who we are. Or, we can forfeit our very soul and spirit to “fit in”.

It’s liberating to realize that adapting without losing sense of self is OK. It’s not being fake. It’s not compromising one’s values. It’s simply realizing and recognizing that the manner in which one fits in is up to each individual; dictated and determined by them, and not the round holes.

Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole?

What did you do about it?

Were you able to adjust and adapt, or did you move on to other places and people?

I’d love to hear about it.

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  • Elena Patrice

    Feel like that all the time Kaarina; however I’m quite at peace with it and actually embrace it! Age give good gifts like wisdom and grace … makes things much easier to accept πŸ˜‰ … I simply carry on. πŸ˜‰

    Excellent my friend!!

    • Be at peace and carry on my friend πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to hear all about the wonderful things that I know will be happening in the next pages and chapters of your life!

  • So relevant in today’s world, Kaarina. I’ve occasionally gone through short phases when I felt the need to fit in, but like you, I too grew up with that quote – in fact, I have the whole dialogue up on my wall. My uncle would urge me to read it as a pledge. As inspiring as it was, the world around me did not make it so easy. I am glad that over the years, I’ve experienced the benefit of not conforming when I did not feel like. And now, as I manage my time and life, I see, more than ever how important it is to be true to ourselves. Social media noise is all around us, but it is also easy to simply switch off and feel the peace. Beautiful post, as only you could present it. Hugs!

    • Thanks so much! We are indeed kindred spirits on this. Being true to oneself is not always easy, especially during the formative years when there was so much pressure to “fit in”. But I know that through all the ups and downs I wouldn’t have it any other way πŸ™‚ Hugs right back at’cha.

  • I think this is one of those things you eventually grow into as you get older. When you’re young or in high school or even college… nobody wants to be different. It takes a unique person to be able to break out of the bonds of peer pressure and expectations. I don’t think I ever “fit in” my entire life, but not for lack of trying! Can’t say I liked it, but I learned to be square in a round world pretty early. Didn’t really embrace it until I was much older though. I also think that once you get to a certain point in life, it stops mattering. At this age, “fitting in” is the worst fate I could imagine! Especially if you run a business or are creative or do anything entrepreneurial at all, then squareness in the face of roundness is something you kind of need. As for “what to do about it”, if you don’t feel like you fit somewhere, go somewhere else. There are lots of places! PS: I’m still percolating on a related blog πŸ™‚

    • I can’t wait to read the results of the percolation πŸ™‚ I was at a meeting this morning and I was definitely the square peg. But then again, I think that’s just the way I’m built. I’m not contrary for the sake of being contrary, I’m not “different to be different”. I just have no problem being true to myself, even when it goes against the grain. I do believe the older we get the wiser we get about all this, and “fitting in” just doesn’t matter. And like you said…there are LOTS of places to “be”. Cheers!

  • It took me many years of conforming to realize, I am the round hole. “They” are the square pegs. This is my life to live to its fullest and be as happy as possible in. Why on earth would I do anything that made me miserable? Changing for other people makes one miserable Tammie. And, as anyone who knows me can imagine, no one wants to be around me when I am miserable. In order for my life to be what it is, what I want it to be, I have learned that there won’t be 8000 close friends, but 8 really awesome ones. Ones that dig my round hole, get it, don’t get offended by my smart ass ways and the fact that everything is funny to me. It is all going to be a joke in a month, so why can’t we laugh at it now? I figure anyone who is offended by me, is never gonna be my best friend anyways. We aren’t gonna hang out, watch movies, go to dinner and be buds. It’s probably better that I don’t waste a ton of time investing in a relationship with them. Because eventually, they will start telling me that I shouldn’t cuss so much, or joke so much and then I will have to cut the cord anyways. It’s easier to just find round holes up front. And cuss and laugh and have fun.? I love this post. One of those that makes me realize I am truly doing something in life that is good for me.

    • You just keep being that round or octagonal or hexagonal or triangular of whatever shape you are! That’s my take on life. We are each of us so unique and when we try to hide that uniqueness or conform to someone else’s standards, it can cause so much grief and pain. I love that you love this post, and I love that you love yourself to “be” your own unique you. I wish that for each person…to their own self be true. And for those people who tell you what you “should” be or do…they can hang out with others, watch movies by themselves, find other dinner companions and never realize the richness of life they’re missing by hanging out with those who feel no need to “fit in”. Rock on my friend!

  • ‘I believe there’s a difference between going against the grain because that’s who you are, and doing so for the sheer sake of going against the grain.’

    Soooo true!! This is such an important topic because so many people in history who didn’t ‘fit in’ are responsible for shifting our paradigms – Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Ghandi, David Bowie, Socrates etc. I think there is a comfort from feeling we belong to something larger than ourselves that is important and healthy, but when we compromise the authenticity of our personhood for the sake of fitting in we can often feel far more lonely and alienated than we would from choosing to be ourselves and stick out. Easier said than done though I guess. Great post!

    • Thanks so much @Thoughtlife:disqus , and how wonderful to see you here! I’ve been receiving your post updates via email, and look forward to catching up more frequently. Thanks for chiming in πŸ™‚