Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the box… and I’m not talking about the hip-hop song by Roddy Rich…
The box that I’m talking about is the beliefs that we hold about ourselves. The “I am” statements. Because for some reason when we wrap our identities into our hobbies, tendencies, and personality traits we tend to make invisible lines that we dare not cross. We put ourselves in “the box.”
If we identify as strong, independent, and gritty the box prevents us from asking for help or taking a break even when we really need to. When we believe that we are inherently shy or socially awkward we stand in our own way of making connections to others.
The tension we feel in our lives comes from the dissonance of believing something about ourselves and acting in contradiction to those beliefs.
So what can we do? … We can open our box.
We can accept the fact that even the strongest, toughest and most powerful people can also be soft and compassionate and that there will be days that they will break down and cry. We can accept that life is meant to be experienced from both ends of the spectrum. We can try on different hats and see what happens.
I used to think I knew exactly who I was as a person. Like I reached a certain age and my box was taped up and done; everything you needed to know about Tyler fit perfectly inside. But then I realized that not everything that I had put in my box was serving me in the ways I wanted them to. So I got to unpacking it.
I realized how much of what I thought about myself was getting in the way of the person that I wanted to be. I believed that I was socially awkward, and yet I wanted to make more friends. I believed I was unathletic, and yet I wanted to try new sports. I even realized that holding on to the belief that I was smart was preventing me from learning new things.
Unpacking my box has helped me change and grow in many ways over the last few years, but I think it’s important to realize that this process will never be finished. Life doesn’t fit inside of a box. It’s more of a mixed bag and it’s always changing.
So be serious and silly.
Strong and compassionate.
Wear a fancy dress one day and roll around in the mud the next.
Live your life and throw away the invisible guidelines you think you need to follow because they only exist in your own head.