Years ago I shared on social media what I’d found to be a powerful quote:
If it doesn’t open it’s not your door.
I stumbled upon the line somewhere (Google didn’t help with origin) and the first time I read it my jaw dropped. Literally as the kids say these days and, in this instance, the word literally for once applies.
The eight words strung together stunned me.
Until that sentence I’d presupposed every door, to duck inside the bubble for a moment, was my f*cking door.
Some entryways flung open with ease.
Others consumed time finagling key in lock and even more to release.
And still other openings demanded I did that hip-slam-thing to swing them free.
Movement normally reserved for inside the house when hands are full/drawer needs to be closed, but far more violent and hard.
Yet, no matter the work or creativity involved, I’d successfully opened each ‘life-door’ I’d encountered.
I presumed this was an indication I possessed grit. I assumed this evidence of the fact I was tenacious.
I prided myself on the fact I forced situations to change if they weren’t initially as I desired and, through repeated attempts, produced outcomes to which I aspired.
Or so I’d thought.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I see I shifted situations and navigated entryways short-term.
This lack of sustainable success didn’t indicate failure, but it also didn’t mean progress.
After contemplating the quote (for years. apparently my intuition can be sloth-like) and applying it to my life I experienced a moment of clarity.
A glimpse into the fact if too much force or crazyeffort is required to force or keep something open it may not be the doorway I’m meant to walk through.
It may be, even simply short term, a bigger victory to acknowledge that fact and surrender.
Growth could come from leaning against experiences we believe we’re to have, but unless we possess tools and traits required nothing will shift.
We may see minuscule movements/indications we’re ‘almost there’ (and choose to hope momentum will come), but unless we possess the proper key it will never be our door.
(I know, right? That’s why it took years for me to ‘suddenly’ have all this make sense.)
I now harness the power of this idea to remind The Child it’s OK to seek a wide variety of experiences.
I encourage her to try all the doors in order to discover which ones work and which wont budge.
If she’s not happy with her friend-group I remind her sometimes things ‘swing open’ and still aren’t meant for us long-term.
If she’s bewildered by the fact she’s struggling with something that comes easily to others I point out quitting can be a gift we give ourselves.
I’ve witnessed how this notion applies to relationships, work, personal style, and overall life-circumstances.
Here, these days, it’s concurrently literal and metaphorical.
I’m backing away from all the doors and settling into the uncomfortable space between what was and what will be.
Metaphorically I’ve invested years (in everything from friendships to employment) forcing open entryways which opened fleetingly or not at all and it’s time for a new approach.
In the literal sense I’m moving and choosing condo-life doors for the first time in a while.
If you asked me today I’d say I’m involved but not committed.
I think the door opens. It’s shifted already.
And still it remains to be seen if its a long-term result I’ll choose to live with.
For today and for right now it’s begun to swing open and I believe it to be my door.
It’s the perfect mix between effort and ease and, I hope, where new ideas will plant roots, gain momentum and permanently take hold.
- Do you believe if it doesn’t open it’s not your door?
- Do you contend with tenacity/perseverance we can make opportunity a fit?
angela @ happy fit mama saysOctober 4, 2017 at 5:00 am
Interesting. For years, it seems like we’ve been told to beat down doors. Which frankly, can be exhausting, if it’s not your door. I think some doors definitely need to be beat down in terms of social injustice or stereotypes. But others, if the door swings open wide, it’s meant to be especially in terms of friendships and relationships.
Bea saysOctober 4, 2017 at 5:21 am
Whoa. Brilliant insight about the door beating down!
Allie saysOctober 4, 2017 at 5:08 am
Unknowingly I have been guided by this in work and friendships. I don’t work too hard for either these days because I want to use my energy wisely. I love this quote as it wraps up the meaning so nicely.
May all the doors you need, swing wide and welcome you!
Bea saysOctober 4, 2017 at 5:21 am
I think this is beautiful.
I’d encourage you to remember sometimes we think a door is permanently stuck and it opens later than we had expected.
Love to you.
messymimi saysOctober 4, 2017 at 5:57 am
Some opportunities don’t fit. Sometimes the place we bloom is not where we would have chosen to be.
Nellie saysOctober 4, 2017 at 6:10 am
At the very least it is a pretty door. I think coming from my background I’ve always known that certain doors will never open for me, but I’ve been really happy for the ones that have without me ever having to touch the handle.
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:17 am
Oh those. The ones which SWING WIIIIIIIIDE without even a touch. So rare. So treasured.
MCM Mama saysOctober 4, 2017 at 6:15 am
As I try to move back into more regular work, I’ve been trying to remind myself of this. I like the analogy of trying lots of doors so you can find the one that opens for you.
Coco saysOctober 4, 2017 at 6:21 am
thought-provoking as usual. I feel the need to say something about revolving doors vs. doors that open automatically as you approach , but can’t quite articulate it. 😉 (hugs)
Jessica saysOctober 4, 2017 at 6:25 am
I’m so ready for a new door to open.
Dani saysOctober 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Valerie saysOctober 4, 2017 at 6:59 am
Oh this. All of this. I was a door-forcer till I forced one that was really really not my door. And I’m currently living in the space behind one that swung open before I even noticed it was there…and it might not have been my door either. Time will tell but I’ve definitely learned not to force them. Working to open them isn’t a bad thing but if it takes the hip-move, I’m leaving it closed. Lesson learned.
Your literal door is lovely. I am consistently hoping and praying that the metaphorical one is, too.
Bari saysOctober 4, 2017 at 7:51 am
I wish I had the insight to know when was the right time to close my particular door and open another. My counselor is no help. How dare they not be able to give advice! Anyway, your doors are beautiful.
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:16 am
(((whispers)) come to mine. she kindasorta proffers advice 🙂
Pamela Lutrell saysOctober 4, 2017 at 7:53 am
Needed this affirmation today, Carla. Thanks!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysOctober 4, 2017 at 7:54 am
What if you have no other choice but the door that’s in front of you? What then?
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:16 am
then it is your door at least for now? Ive thought so much about this comment since I read it yesterday morning and that’s what Ive come up with. I think I know what youre referring to and, to my chagrin, I guess it’s your default door–FOR NOW.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au saysOctober 4, 2017 at 8:30 am
It’s a tricky one isn’t it Carla? Sometimes a door swings open and you think you’re hearing the hallelujah chorus and sunbeams shining through – only to find it leads nowhere and you have to go back out into the hallway and look for a new door (that’s what I’m in the middle of atm!)
Darlene saysOctober 4, 2017 at 8:44 am
Powerful! If it does not open, it aint my door….BUT…i need to use the right key too The right key is my ability to discern what is right for me, and to unlock doors of opportunity that align with my priorities in life. Sometimes doors open that are not right for us and we walk right on through, only to end up miserable and unhappy. Not all doors lead to happiness.
Sandra D Laflamme saysOctober 4, 2017 at 9:08 am
So much food for thought here. Sometimes you have to try to open it even if you believe its not yours and then the outcome can lead you to new and incredible places. Thank you for this post today Carla!
Tamara saysOctober 4, 2017 at 10:04 am
Oh gosh. I love this. And your new entryway xo
Lisa Ricard Claro saysOctober 4, 2017 at 10:21 am
The tough part is discerning whether or not to keep trying. Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Good thing he didn’t quit! I don’t disagree with your quote—not every door is meant to open to us, no matter how badly we want it to or how hard we push—I just wish it was easier to determine when the time has come to move on. My fear isn’t of failure or finding a new path. It’s of quitting prematurely.
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:15 am
YES!! Here too and I think we humans can become so committed to a “mistake” because of time invested making it. It’s a fin and nuanced line…
kelley rose saysOctober 4, 2017 at 11:09 am
I love this post. I love this post. I love this post.
Anita Irlen saysOctober 4, 2017 at 11:31 am
Yep, I bashed at doors for a really long time. Now I too realize, that if it takes that much effort… not your door. Tenacity and grit are good until it starts hurting us. Going “softer” is hard at first, but it’s worth the difficulty. Loved the hip thing, results in bruises. 🙂
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:14 am
Oh I love how you phrased that too. ‘…until it starts hurting us.’
Jenn saysOctober 4, 2017 at 11:58 am
Plenty of food for thought – which led me to an unhappy one – but what if the door that I’ve wedged open, that I desperately want to pass through – really isn’t the door that is meant to open – even if it’s what I really want?
So much to consider.
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:13 am
SO SO SO MUCH. Hence the really mulling all this for years before writing.
AdjustedReality saysOctober 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm
I like your new door and your musings about it! I range between someone who’s too scared to ring the doorbell and someone who barrels doors down… depending on my motivation and comfort and how cavalier I feel at the moment.
I guess another thought is that once you go through a door, it’s not the end, you can always exit it again if you want? It’s not like we only go through one in our lives and never go out the other way…
Laurie Stone saysOctober 4, 2017 at 3:48 pm
I think it boils down to acceptance. We can keep knocking, but if it doesn’t open, its not meant to be. Then again, doors will open we never asked for or expected, but they’re perfect. One of the magical things in life.
cheryl saysOctober 4, 2017 at 8:40 pm
I like to embrace the mystery of what lies behind each door I encounter-or around each bend in the trail or road. It keeps me going to be curious.
Carla saysOctober 5, 2017 at 4:13 am
and as you exemplify curiosity keeps us young!
Michelle @ Running with Attitude saysOctober 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm
So much to consider here…as I prepare for some life changes ahead I know this door analogy will come into play again and again.
amanda -runtothefinish saysOctober 5, 2017 at 10:21 am
I love your way with words. I agree that sometimes if we’re struggling repeatedly it’s time to re-examine… and i LOVE this statement
2/3 of our weakness are just strengths misapplied!
emmaclaire saysOctober 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm
I’m one of those who measures how much the door MUST be my door by how much time I’ve invested in opening the damn thing. It is so very hard to get perspective on this for me, and most often it takes someone else pointing it out (I have one of those helpful therapists, too, thank goodness!) for me to finally see that I may have misjudged. Seeing my energy/focus/time as a such a finite thing has made it a teensy bit easier to let go once clarity kicks in. Congrats on your new door 🙂
Jody saysOctober 5, 2017 at 6:41 pm
I know this quote & I try to listen to it but unfortunately I am a stubborn idiot that does not learn the lesson…. I guess because it is what I want more than anything else to make money at but it just ain’t going to happen…. I know you will find that right door!
Sherry saysOctober 19, 2017 at 8:34 pm
Dear Carla, are you back in Austin?