I recently watched Daniel Sloss’ Netflix comedy special Jigsaw. It is less of a comedy show and more of a commentary, changing lives and making you think the way only good comedy can. I highly suggest everyone watches it, but for those who get offended easily, you have been warned.
Strip the show of its jokes and at the core, we have a conversation about the meaning of life. Sloss explains that his father taught him life is like a jigsaw puzzle without the box. We all have our pieces and we’re trying to put together an image without knowing what we’re working towards. We start with the corners, things like family, hobbies, work, or religion; we take those and begin to form who we are by creating the outline to our puzzle. Eventually, we begin to construct something stable, working closer toward the image we are trying to discover. The life-changing question that young Sloss asked his father was “what goes in the middle of the puzzle?” His father gave the same answer that America gives us as a society: your other half. Your lover. Your soul mate.
Sloss explains that we are taught from an early age that we are all broken and incomplete, and that we must find someone to make us feel whole again. Bombarded with this ideal our entire lives, we tend to force the first person we find into the center of our jigsaw puzzle, rearranging things to make them fit, moving out the things they don’t like. The thing is, these people aren’t puzzle pieces. They are people just like yourself with their own jigsaw puzzle they are trying to solve.
We all want love so badly that we shove other humans beings into our puzzle and pretend that the end result makes us happy, even if it doesn’t fit. That isn’t to say that every jigsaw with someone else in the center is wrong. For your puzzle, it might be perfect. It just might be the missing piece that you had been looking for. For most of us though? That simply isn’t true. Even if it is, it doesn’t mean it’s the piece we need when we’re trying to jam it in there.
Sloss revealed closer to the end of his special that he believes his father was right, but only partly. He believes that there is a big hole in the middle that needs to be filled, but the missing piece is different for everyone. For someone like his father, the missing piece was love. But for others, it could be a combination of little hobbies, a career, or literally anything else at all. It’s up to us to discover that. It’s up to us to realize that maybe the relationship we are in doesn’t necessarily fit our jigsaw puzzle when it would be easier for the other person to die than to break their heart for what we consider to be no good reason. No one wants to tell someone who has done nothing wrong that you just don’t love them anymore. That just doesn’t happen, but Sloss suggest that maybe it should. We’re too busy sacrificing our happiness for the fear of hurting someone else who doesn’t deserve it, and because we believe this is how love should be.
Love should be effortless. All the pieces in your puzzle should fit together seamlessly, and if they don’t? Maybe it’s time to reconsider what goes there. If we have shoved a significant other in there and kept them hostage despite wondering if this is all love is, maybe it’s time to break up. If we can’t love 100% of ourselves, then how can we expect someone else to? If you love yourself at less than 100%, and someone comes to love you a little bit more, it seems like a lot. But if you love yourself at 100%, then it’s gonna take someone pretty special to come love all of you, the good and the bad, to make you feel even happier.
If no one ever fits, maybe that’s for the best. But if you are happier alone than you are with the person you’re dating, engaged or even married to, maybe your partner piece is not the center of your jigsaw. The center of your jigsaw should be your happiness piece. Everything else will fall in place around it. But if that person that you are with isn’t it? Replace them with the things that do make you happy. Each and every one of us deserves it. Besides, there are 7.5 billion people on this planet. You’re bound to meet someone who fits into your life as perfectly as you do theirs.