A couple of weeks ago a friend shared a video with me of a Brazilian youtuber, Jout Jout, talking about a book she came across – The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. As she began reading the story, page by page, I was just as surprised as she was by how the tale was portrayed in the book.
I had never heard of the book before. Well, it is a children’s book, and I don’t have children, but I’m glad that Jout Jout decided to make this video and share this beautiful story with the grown-ups (the video has English subtitles).
The tale is about an unhappy circle searching for its missing piece. As it rolls it sings a song: “Oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece/I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece/Hi-dee-ho, here I go,/Lookin’ for my missin’ piece.”
This story might have different meanings to different people. But for me, it was so powerful that it made me think a lot on my own quest for happiness.
I used to think that happiness is in the outside world. That happiness is in the things that we have, the things that we experience. I had a void inside myself that I needed to fill with these things and experiences I wanted to have.
How many times I went through the same journey that this little unhappy circle went through to try and find my missing piece and feel happy. I had a desire to study abroad and so I left my family, friends, and everything else I built behind, to fulfil this desire. If I had not done that, maybe I wouldn’t have met my partner and experienced all the things that made me grow to where I am today.
After ten years living abroad I started feeling homeless and lost. As if I didn’t belong anywhere. I used to go back home for holidays but I didn’t feel home anymore. I couldn’t imagine myself living in Brazil again. I feel that many of those who live abroad, and far away from their family, may share the same feeling.
Even though I lived in a beautiful place, with a wonderful husband and friends, I was unhappy and lost. I lost track of my life. And I had to go all the way to India and spend two months in an Ashram to find myself again. To find my missing piece, that was inside myself the whole time.
Of course I’m still learning as I study and gain knowledge about myself every day. But whenever I lose track of myself, I will remember this story by Shel Silverstein. We often feel we need to play one role in our lives and we lose our true identity. The best part of the book for me is when the missing piece tells the circle that it can belong to someone else, but still be itself – even if the missing piece is attached to the circle.
We may play roles in our lives. We may be the managers or employees of a business, the husband or wife in your home. Any role we play, we cannot ignore our essence. However, when we are playing the role, we need to play it to the best of our abilities.
This is why developing self-awareness is so important. It helps you identify the various hats you may wear on a day to day basis so you can see how they fit together to form your personal identity. It is all about how you deal with the challenging world and how you navigate through these challenges.