We’ve all been there.
You’re walking down the street. It’s a beautiful fall evening—still warm enough to go without a jacket, but you have a sweater on to take the bite out of the cool breeze. You may be walking alone or walking with friends, but either way…
Admiring the new fall boots. Examining the designs of the pretty scarves. Quietly coveting someone else’s arm candy.
Don’t lie. You do this, too.
But then you see it.
It’s a guy with a hipster vibe or a girl without honest friends, but either way…
Those jeans are WAY too tight.
Maybe he’s testing out a new style or trying out as the newest member of One Direction. Maybe she’s wearing last season’s jeans or again, just doesn’t have nice friends.
Either way, the tightness of those jeans is a blaring siren that’s calling out for your people-watching attention. A total denim disaster. A white-washed train wreck.
You find yourself wondering…
How did he get those on?!
Is that paint?!
Can she breathe?!
But we’re all really thinking the same thing…
How on EARTH can that be comfortable?!
And friends, I’m here to share something profound with you. Something that took me years to realize. Something that caused sleepless nights and an undeniable craving for late night bites trying to figure out.
Being in a job or a relationship that does not bring out your strengths is exactly like wearing a ill-fitting pair of jeans.
It’s seemingly impossible to get out of.
It keeps you from functioning normally.
In short, it sucks.
Now, I know that you are much smarter than our dear guy-friend the would-be-Backstreet Boy and our dear girl-friend who doesn’t own mirror. I mean, really—you would never wear something like that, right?
Surely you have some safeguards in place to prevent such a scene.
Surely somewhere along the way, someone would pull you aside and shyly say,
Tracy… -A-a-are you sure you want to be wearing those?! They don’t seem to fit very well…
But what about in the other areas of our lives?
Does the school’s career counselor or the job interviewer tell you about the sh*t sandwiches you’re going to have to eat? Does your own self-awareness remain untainted from the opinions of others to reveal your own definition of success? Do your friends and family give you honest feedback about where you might thrive and where you’ll just settle and survive?
Think about your own friends.
When was the last time you had a hard conversation with a friend? When was the last time you challenged someone close to you to do better? When was the last time you looked someone in the eye and said you were made for more and you don’t have to stay in that job or relationship that you hate?
Not recently enough.
And I’m afraid this is ubiquitous among a society that’s so willing to settle for slightly-uncomfortable-but-not-that-bad existence.
We’re all wearing jeans that don’t fit, in some way other another.
And in some way or another—it shows!
When you’re in a job that doesn’t take advantage of your incredible gifts and geniuses, you show up differently. You’re not engaged. You’re not excited. You’re not creative. You’re not energetic.
You’re not you.
When you’re in a relationship that requires you to be a false version of yourself, you show up differently. You hide. You pretend. You sneak. You lie.
You’re not you.
And when we really stop to think about it, this seems pretty dire.
I mean, take a moment and think about the places in your life where you aren’t showing up authentically.
It might be more than you realize.
But what if we could take a similar view of this issue?
The “ill-fitting jeans” view, so to speak.
If you’re wearing a pair of jeans that just doesn't fit, you go back to the store, go to the next rack, and look for a new one. You don’t spend a ton of time trying on the same pair you had on before, because you’ve learned that those just aren’t the right fit for you. You stop squeezing and squishing yourself into the same old size.
And you try them on.
And here’s the best part…
That new pair just might be a perfect fit!
All you have to do is know your jean size.
It’s the same way with our lives, but we just love making it more complicated.
It’s really simple, actually. Not easy. But simple.
If something’s not working (aka, something’s not "fitting"), we need to be open and willing to go back to the drawing board, start from scratch, and try something new.
We need to be willing to quit that horrible, dead-end job or leave that harmful, unfulfilling relationship. We need to be open to starting over. We need to be free to try something new.
Knowing your jean size doesn’t mean you have to walk around naked. I’m not asking you to completely abandon the idea of work and relationships. You don’t have to go to the extremes and start a business or join a convent (unless that’s your thing!).
You just have to be open.
You just have to be willing.
You just have to try.
Don’t walk around your entire existence with a life that fits you just a badly as a pair of jeans that are too tight.
Be yourself. Listen to your needs. Know your jean size.
And walk confidently on.
Now I want to hear from you!
Where in your life are your "jeans" just not fitting right?
Are you open and willing to go back to the drawing board and try on the next pair? Are you ready for your perfect fit?
Leave a comment below!