I’m Living in a Box

Window BoxesIt’s no fun living in a box, but we all do.

We imprison ourselves in the box that people think we should be in, eventually believing that it is where we belong. And the box has labels on it: mother, sister, executive, homemaker. Other labels are far more destructive: loser, failure, stupid, boring. And when we try to be something that is not labeled on the box, people remind us of where we belong.

When it says on the box that you don’t make decisions, someone else runs your life. When it says on the box that you are not creative, no one listens to your ideas. When it says on the box that you are a failure, no one expects you to succeed at something new.

Others doubt what it is that we are trying to become because it’s not on the label. So, we begin to doubt ourselves—perhaps before we even start to do something new. People enjoy reminding us what the label says, “Why are you doing that? It’s not who you are.”

As we go through life, we shut the lid down tighter, we make the box smaller, we often reduce things to a single label­—and that’s where we stay until the end. Every aspect of who we are sits within the box. But outside, there is a world of ambition, hope and joy.

When I tell people that I have written a book, some people smirk. I can see from the look in their eyes that they are thinking, “You are not a writer. That’s not who you are. No one will read it.”

And for the longest time, I listened to my inner critic and that internal voice was fueled by those smirks. But if I didn’t write that book, I knew that the label on the box would read, “Wasted Life.”

So I started writing and I silenced my inner critic. I posted my writing here and on Facebook and I waited. When people first started to “Like” my Facebook page and my blog and comment on my writing, I was frankly amazed. They didn’t know what the label said on the box I was in. I was encouraged to continue and more and more people found my page and told me to keep writing.

Today, I received my 100,000th Like on my Facebook page—more Likes than many best-selling authors. And on July 1st, my book will be published.

I’m changing the label on the box. Forever.

Don’t let someone tell you what or who you are. Don’t accept that you live in a box. And don’t let others keep you in there. Make a start. Do something today that’s not on the label.

Comments

  1. Once again a brilliant piece of writing.

    I often put era of my life in different pigeon holes. At first glance all you see in pigeon holes are envelopes or folded pieces of paper, lots of them, all stacked up and looking the same, but you need to lift them out and inspect them one by one, to reveal the full contents.

    Some may be simple and to the point, taking the reader simply further along the trail of life. Some will reveal the end of an era, others will reveal the start of something new, a different direction, a whole new future. In fact, there may even be the odd colourful postcard, to remind you that you need to take time away from it all every now and again.

  2. Having a creative outlet helps the feeling of living in a box…a cube… a cubicle… and nature helps. Get outside! Hike, camp, kayak, raft, drink a beer on your porch. It frees the mind and the spirit. And never be afraid to hike off-trail, you’ll be amazed at what you discover.

  3. I liked reading this. Perhaps because I think alike. (Now that’s a sort of conformism isn’t it?)

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