Living Outside the Box
Staying true to yourself might be one of the most difficult things you will experience in life. It is natural for someone to stay with other people similar to us and thus we create boxes. And we know very well who and what fits where. What happens if you do not fit inside a box? So, what do we usually do with people who don’t fit inside our box?
People don’t really know what to do with someone that doesn’t fit in their box. Think back to grade school days. When you act differently from the “trend” or have different habits and hobbies, you ran the risk of being seen as “boring”, “old fashioned” or “uncool” by others. You should not really care about how these people will perceive you as long as you feel good about yourself. But humans will always judge the actions of others and tell you how you should be living. Often, it is seen as something is wrong if you don’t follow their lifestyle. Your box is bound by familiarities and what makes you comfortable.
And so, what do we usually do when people don’t fit inside our box? At school, we tend to bully them, at work, we discriminate them and in real life, we may judge them. Maybe we do it subconsciously, maybe our brain cannot understand where to put these people. And so, it tries to either change them or leave them out. As humans, we have a need for belonging and maybe some people think they are doing you a favor when they try to change you, helping you to not be left out. When in fact you don’t want to be changed, you just want to fit somewhere as you are.
“Most of the causes of discrimination and racism is given by fear of difference.”
Fear of difference, or otherwise our inability to accept people for who they truly are, will always cause discrimination. Why should be so afraid of something that is different, that is unique. But the truth is that our brain perceives “different” as “unknown” and that might as well be “dangerous”, which is why we try to fight it. It takes much more effort and time to change our mindset on others than it takes to judge them. Judging is easy, it does any not require you to change your mindset or require any effort. Judgment is the default reaction to something different, but that does not necessarily mean it is the best reaction.
“Peer pressure often makes us act like someone we are not, to fit somewhere we don’t belong.”
Not everyone is aware of how peer pressure can affect someone. This is especially true when the person is at a young age and cannot really understand what they really want in life. We live in a time when we would rather change ourselves to fit into society than be left out. We live in a time “you can’t sit with us”. I have met many people that have started new habits, just because everyone else is doing it. Without a doubt, I am sure you have heard a story or two about great people who became miserable after they started to hang out with the wrong people. And it all comes from our need for belonging, from our fear of feeling lonely. For example, people start the habit of smoking or drinking just so they won’t feel left out of parties. But what good can peer pressure bring if you are not happy with who you are or what you are doing? Because if you deny to yourself who you really are, or you change yourself just so you can fit somebody’s else reality, you can’t really be happy. Instead, you will be miserable.
Several times throughout life, I myself have ‘live outside the box.’ I am very familiar with how it feels to listen to people judging your lifestyle, and I know how peer pressure can make you lose your way for a while just to find out you had all you ever wanted in the first place. I also know how the people who had once thought of you as ‘uncool’ later on come back to you saying you were cool in the first place, just in your own way.
Sometimes not being able to find the right people to socialize with can make you feel lonely, or even doubt yourself or your values. There are people like you out there…the world is filled with unique personalities. You just have to get out of your comfort zone and find an environment you like to live and flourish in.
And I know that sounds easier said than done, because most of the time we feel like we are stuck and we can’t change our life, but the truth is that we can. We are not trees, we have the ability to move, change, and find a better place where we fit in. WE can build our own box and find other people who would fit in there, without changing them, without judging them, but while accepting them.
“Don’t compromise who you are…be free to be you…be yourself, otherwise you will be nobody…you have to be who you are, otherwise you disappear.”
Another way of viewing ‘disappearing’ is to be stuck in your box. Being bound to the box is another way of being a commodity, stuck in a box with everyone else just like you. In order to escape your box, you have to be yourself. There is no one quite like you out there, meaning that being different is a good thing. Break free of the box and be your authentic self.