Human beings are interesting creatures. We all come equipped with certain distinctions that are individual to us alone. I believe the theory that we are each born unique entities and we come with natural talents and personality dimensions that are catalysts to our strengths and also our weaknesses in life. When it comes to us embracing these natural gifts, we tend to shed these dimensions of our character more and more as we get older. Most of the time we do this simply to fit in, or in a professional or educational environment, we do it more or less so that we do not get in trouble to make any waves.
Obviously, there is a time and place to act in a certain way, but this piece is pertaining to the angles of ourselves and our personality we cut out in order to fit into a certain mold, whether it be set by society, intimate peer group, or any other type of social community or structure.
Society likes to label us and put us all into boxes, I suppose it’s because it is easier to manage us that way. Everything must have some sort of label, and the list of labels is endless. The majority of these labels fall under the status category such as; what you wear, how much money you make, who you know, what you do, who you date, etc, and if we start attaching these labels to ourselves consciously or unconsciously, it restricts the other areas of ourselves to be expressed. The thinking behind this is “Well am this thing, so I need to act in this manner to live up to the idea of how I believe this thing is supposed to behave”.
The part where this is detrimental is that these labels don’t take into consideration the fact that human beings have a much wider capacity of feelings, emotions, interests, and personality nuances that any label or multiple labels could ever fully grasp. This makes it very difficult to pigeonhole someone in such a way and call that the totality of their being. You barely even scratch the surface on who you, or any other person is if you proceed in this way of using labels to identify anyone. If you adopt a label so strongly, you will inevitably begin to strip other parts of yourself to fit that mold.
This trimming of ourselves seems to start at a young age. It begins with the first authority figures we encounter; our parents, our teachers, or anyone who is in a position of perceived power that we come across. As we get older, politicians, media figures and influencers hold these positions as well. Whether these boxed in ideas and labels are presented and sold to us with malicious intent by authority figures is beside the point for this particular article. But between schooling, your parents trying to steer you right, your teachers and friends filling you with ideas, and when you eventually get a soulless corporate job where nobody has sense of humor or can take a joke, we hide more and more of our individuality as time passes.
The longer we stay within these ideas and these boxes the more ingrained these ways of thinking, these ideals, and these boxes will encompass us. We will soon be forced to hide all of the angles of ourselves seen as negative or off the reservation within that community. This way of living couldn’t be more damaging, but sometimes this way is just the easiest way to go about life.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own” – Marcus Aurelius
Sometimes we adopt labels and live in pre-set ways simply because it’s easier, or maybe we don’t know who we are fully just yet. It’s much easier to adopt a preexisting idea than embrace a fully original one(you). So what do we do? We fit ourselves to meet other people’s expectations of us, we bury certain parts of our character to fit in; whether it be at work, amongst a certain friend or group, or when we are in a certain setting whether it be in the classroom, in the corporate world, or out and about in your everyday life. We cleave off important personality aspects that round us out and are complete the totality of ourselves and our essence. We rob ourselves of our fullest capacities by trying to live up to some preset ideal, some pre-existing mold that we have to unnatural contort ourselves into in order to get inside.We do all this rather than living out our true selves. How many times have you known someone who has done this? Have you done this? Most of us have, and it seems to be a common theme for most people at some point in their life. So, if this is so damaging to our expression and individuality, why do we do it?
We do this mainly out of fear. Fear – of being different, of being seen as foolish, dumb, or in fear of our job / career. A fear of what will other people think of me? What will they think or say if I do this or say that or express this idea? The ultimate fear of this comes to being looked down upon or getting kicked out of a certain group for doing such a thing. Or fear of being found out; as a fraud or not good enough. This fear is so strong because it relates all the way back to our primal need for acceptance of sorts.But if you continuously indulge in it, this fear will keep you on the sidelines for as long as you entertain it. But there is a way to get past it and live up to your higher self.
If you like most people have done this most of your life, the way out is like any other with incremental steps. In certain circumstances, you must begin expressing yourself, especially when you know it may be the right thing to do; say something that may help someone, stick up for yourself if you know you are right, tell the joke, make the gesture. You will soon find that you will be just fine, and people that you thought would ridicule you, probably won’t mind, or may not even be paying attention.
Having this healthy level of not giving a shit, I feel is good for you. I have found that the truth seems to be, no matter what you do in or with your life, most people don’t care or don’t mind. They are too busy worrying about how they look or what they’re doing to even notice you doing something unorthodox. Now this idea of people not caring can be looked at as a negative or a positive, but it is a simple truth, most people aren’t that concerned. So with that in mind, do your thing, whatever that may be for you.Everyone I have run into has some sort of weird habit or quirk or thing they do, embrace it, all of it. Those are the angles that make you, you.
“Those who create there own worlds are generally the poets”– Andrei Tarkovsky
People who live by their own terms and don’t care much what others think are magnetic, they are the true designers of their lives, and they seem to be the ones people are attracted to most. They emanate a sense of freedom that most people have trouble grasping, never-mind acquiring. They are not trapped or constrained by anyone else’s of opinion of themselves, as they hold their own at the highest value. This is the way it should be for all of us. It is my believe that we can all be a bit more expressive and individualistic as opposed to trying to clip ourselves to fit into any and every group. Know that no ideal, label, or box, or strict ideology truly defines you, and you are much higher and much more than these basic levels of thinking.
In the design field, Each designer grows and learns more about the craft, they develop their own unique style. People should challenge themselves to do the same. Develop your own way of doing things, your own way of being, and don’t let people knock you off your horse. What works for you, or what resonates with you, may not make sense to some people, maybe most people.Do it anyway, embrace the dynamics of your character, every side, whatever they may be. It is the only way to live a fulfilled life. Break out of any box you have put yourself in and live up to the best version of yourself. Don’t dully our colors to meet the palette of another. Use the full breadth of your personality, that is where your personal magic is.
If you leave with anything, leave with the idea that you aren’t here to live based off boxed in ideas and labels. Embrace every single angle of the boundless prism that is, you. Go get it.
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