Don't Put Yourself In A Box
Start writing a post
Wellbeing

Don't Put Yourself In A Box

"No matter what, people grow. If you choose not to grow, you're staying in a small box with a small mindset." ~ Kevin Hart

1403
Don't Put Yourself In A Box

We hear it said all the time: don't put people in boxes. Basically, don't boil a person down to a few qualities or labels and assume that he/she will always, without fail, act in accordance with the version of him/her that we've built in our heads. The truth is, people are unpredictable and constantly changing, so we shouldn't assume that someone will always be a certain way. We shouldn't act like we have other people completely "figured out," because the truth is, people are infinitely complex – or, as a professor of mine once put it, we are like onions, full of many layers that are constantly peeled away to reveal different aspects of who we are.

I wholeheartedly agree with the above argument. However, the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that we often do the exact same thing to ourselves – we put ourselves in boxes and define ourselves (not just other people) by a few opinions, attributes, or character traits, refusing to accept that we can act or feel any differently than one, particular version of ourselves. We make blanket statements about our personality, tastes, and behavior, acting as if we will never be any different.

Our conclusions about ourselves may range from trivial things to more serious: "There is no way I will ever like [insert book/movie/music genre]! It's just not my thing." "I'm not a people person, and there's nothing I can do about it. It's just who I am." "I will never have kids. That's not what I want with my life."

Now, obviously, there are parts of who we are that endure throughout our lives. We all have a sense of self and remain the same person as long as we live, so some (or many) aspects of who we are may never change – and that's a wonderful thing! Depending on your personality, you may always be shy or outgoing or serious or bubbly. Parts of ourselves are deeply ingrained, and we may never truly change those deep-seated qualities.

In the end, there is absolutely nothing wrong with analyzing our own character and interests and drawing conclusions about ourselves. However, by placing labels on ourselves or making blanket statements about who we are, we risk acknowledging that we have room to grow and change. For instance, we may ignore the fact that as we mature and enter new stages of life, we may very well spark interests in new things. Our passions may even change daily as we find new topics, places, and things to explore, sometimes falling in love with something that we usually wouldn't give a second thought.

That movie genre you vowed vehemently to hate forever? Maybe suddenly it's one of your favorites. I can vouch from experience: despite detesting "Star Wars" for years, I, completely inexplicably, fell in love with "The Last Jedi" and have been a fan of the franchise ever since. One year ago, I would have told you I would never change my mind about "Star Wars." And yet, here I am. I could have refused to even give the new "Star Wars" movies a try, but I did give them a shot – and that completely altered my perspective.

Now, I try avoiding the word "never" when it comes to my tastes and opinions, and I try to keep exploring things I don't expect to like. After all, if I choose to remain stuck in my preconceived notions about myself, I risk missing out on new things to love and learn and try. I'm still not perfect when it comes to this, but I try to stay more open to finding new passions and interests.

Another danger of putting yourself in a box is the risk that you will use your box as a "crutch," in order to avoid making intentional, healthy changes in your own life. Let's go back to our example from earlier about not being a people person. Many people are more shy, quiet, or reserved by nature. However, there are numerous situations where choosing to remain silent simply because you're nervous around people may hurt your interactions and relationships with them.

In cases like this, you can acknowledge that while you can't change the fact that you're naturally reserved, you don't have to let your shy nature dictate all of your behavior. Making changes can be hard, but your personality doesn't always have to determine your actions. You can make the choice about how to behave. While you may very likely be shy or introverted your entire life, you don't have to hide behind these labels as excuses for not being kind and open to other people. Basically, don't let putting yourself in a box called "shyness" (or whatever word applies to you) keep you from making healthy changes to your behavior, especially in how you treat other people.

These are lessons that I myself still need to learn, and that I'm reminded of daily. We humans are simultaneously consistent and ever-changing – a remarkable thing indeed! Even as we strive not to put other people in boxes, let's also remain conscious of how we treat ourselves. By staying open to changes in ourselves, we unlock a whole new world of possibilities.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Tumblr

Chick-fil-A, I love you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

An open letter to my father

What you did sounds dumb to me

674
An open letter to my father
The Truth About My Parents' Divorce

Considering im 18 now & you're one of the best men i've ever met since you have a child; me. I want you to know that I love you, more than anyone, I love you. I don't forgive you for the way you hurt my mother. I'm hurt because you broke our family. Thing went down hill the day you found Laquita. You we're distant & shortly after my mother turned into the coldest, saddest women to walk past me. She's my best friend & so are you. Not one day goes by where I don't wonder what she did wrong. How on earth could you trade your family & the women who loved you unconditionally for a home wrecker? Sounds dumb to me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Is God Reckless?

Exploring the controversy behind the popular worship song "Reckless Love"

1762
Is God Reckless?


First things first I do not agree with people getting so caught up in the specific theology of a song that they forget who they are singing the song to. I normally don't pay attention to negative things that people say about worship music, but the things that people were saying caught my attention. For example, that the song was not biblical and should not be sung in churches. Worship was created to glorify God, and not to argue over what kind of theology the artist used to write the song. I was not made aware of the controversy surrounding the popular song "Reckless Love" by Cory Asbury until about a week ago, but now that I am aware this is what I have concluded.The controversy surrounding the song is how the term reckless is used to describe God's love. This is the statement that Cory Asbury released after many people questioned his theology regarding his lyrics. I think that by trying to clarify what the song was saying he added to the confusion behind the controversy.This is what he had to say,
"Many have asked me for clarity on the phrase, "reckless love". Many have wondered why I'd use a "negative" word to describe God. I've taken some time to write out my thoughts here. I hope it brings answers to your questions. But more than that, I hope it brings you into an encounter with the wildness of His love.When I use the phrase, "the reckless love of God", I'm not saying that God Himself is reckless. I am, however, saying that the way He loves, is in many regards, quite so. What I mean is this: He is utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His actions with regards to His own safety, comfort, and well-being. His love isn't crafty or slick. It's not cunning or shrewd. In fact, all things considered, it's quite childlike, and might I even suggest, sometimes downright ridiculous. His love bankrupted heaven for you. His love doesn't consider Himself first. His love isn't selfish or self-serving. He doesn't wonder what He'll gain or lose by putting Himself out there. He simply gives Himself away on the off-chance that one of us might look back at Him and offer ourselves in return.His love leaves the ninety-nine to find the one every time."
Some people are arguing that song is biblical because it makes reference to the scripture from Matthew 28:12-14 and Luke 15. Both of these scriptures talk about the parable of the lost sheep and the shepherd. The shepherd symbolizes God and the lost sheep are people that do not have a relationship with God. On the other hand some people are arguing that using the term reckless, referring to God's character is heretical and not biblical. I found two articles that discuss the controversy about the song.The first article is called, "Reckless Love" By Cory Asbury - "Song Meaning, Review, and Worship Leading Tips." The writer of the article, Jake Gosselin argues that people are "Making a mountain out of a molehill" and that the argument is foolish. The second article, "God's Love is not Reckless, Contrary to What You Might Sing" by author Andrew Gabriel argues that using the term reckless is irresponsible and that you cannot separate Gods character traits from God himself. For example, saying that God's love is reckless could also be argued that God himself is reckless. Reckless is typically not a word that someone would use to describe God and his love for us. The term reckless is defined as (of a person or their actions) without thinking or caring about the consequences of an action. However, Cory Asbury is not talking about a person, he is talking about God's passionate and relentless pursuit of the lost. While I would not have chosen the word reckless, I understand what he was trying to communicate through the song. Down below I have linked two articles that might be helpful if you are interested in reading more about the controversy.


Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Signs You Grew Up In A Small Town

Whether you admit it or not, that tiny town will always have your heart.

1657
The Odyssey

1. You still talk to people that you went to elementary school with.

These are the people you grew up with and the people you graduated high school with. The faces you see in kindergarten are the same faces you’ll see for the rest of your life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

150 Words For Anyone Who Loves Football Games

Why I love high school football games, even though I don't like football.

2674
Dallas News

When most think of high school they think of friend drama, parties, getting your drivers license, and best of all foot ball games.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments