Defining Ourselves in a Culture of Boxes That Don’t Fit
I remember when I was in school, I never really fit in. I wasn’t the popular kid. I was the smart kid, in advanced math classes and AP Physics. I was a geek. But that wasn’t really who I was either. I had great friends who were also the Misfits. We would do crazy things and get the nuns all riled up, wondering what to do with us. Since we were smart and got good grades, they didn’t want to impede our learning, so as long as we stayed inside the lines, we were safe.
As I got older and went to college (studying mechanical engineering), I had a harder time in the Misfit box. It wasn’t fitting as well, and I wanted to do something different. But what? Once again, I found myself with the Geeks in the Technical Support department at Logitech, then onto Software QA Engineering. I loved my work! It fit me to a T.
I was an Engineer.
Then I got married and was pregnant with J.T., and decided to quit my job and stay home with my baby. In the beginning, the Mom box didn’t fit at all. I had no idea what to do with this little being who wouldn’t sleep and cried a lot. Suddenly, I wasn’t good at my job anymore (or so I thought). I went into an identity crisis, wondering what happened to that Engineer who did her job so well. Everyone was telling me how to be a good Mom, what to do with my child, how to raise him to be a good boy, “let him cry it out,” “if he’s not potty trained by 3, there’s something wrong with him,” “you’re too soft on him,” blah blah blah.
So much of what I was hearing was counter to what my intuition was saying. I felt like I had to fight for my intuition. I knew what to do if I just stopped listening to the outside world, and just listened to that inner voice. I did find my bearings, and lead my parenting from the heart instead of the head. I let my heart tell me what to do (most of the time) and told my head to shut up.
Fast forward to ten years ago, when J.T. left and I found who I am. Droves of people left my life (or so it felt) because they could not handle who I was. It was quite a while before I was able to say “I’m a psychic medium” without hanging my head, waiting for them to tell me I was going to hell or that the devil was inside me. Talk about being a Misfit! I was wearing that suit very well! Thankfully, I had J.T. prodding me on, letting me know it was okay to be who I was, and that, in time, others would accept it, too. Thankfully.
From birth, we are told so many things about ourselves from outside of us. “You’re so cute” “You are going to grow up and be just like your mom (or dad)” “You’re not very smart, are you?”
We forget we have that inner compass to guide us because we rely on our outside world to feed us, clothe us, and keep us safe. Why wouldn’t we rely on them to tell us who we are, also?
If you are reading this, you get it. You understand you are not just one thing or another.You are complex. You do not fit into just one box. Wouldn’t that be neat and tidy! It can be hard, though, to jump from box to box depending on what you are doing and who you are with…the work box, the parent box, the adult child box, the friend box. Then there’s the things that happened to us. The grieving parent box, the addict box, the doormat box. The truth is no one box fits, but sometimes we get stuck in a particular box because of something we are told about ourselves, or what society and our culture expects from us.
I invite you to take a look at your boxes this month:
Are there any boxes you keep cramming yourself into that just aren’t working anymore?
Are you being told you should be in a box that you know isn’t right for you?
Is it hard for you to listen to your inner knowing?
Do you rely on others to tell you what box to be in?
What would it feel like to break out of the boxes and be in the flow of life instead of being in a box?
No matter who or what around you is defining what box or who you should be, STOP and listen to your heart. What is your heart telling you? Move all the other junk out of the way…and listen. All you need is already within you. Your inner compass knows WHO YOU ARE.
This time of year, we can get overwhelmed with what other people expect from us. Again, I invite you to take a look inside your box, to find the gift of YOU, and not what other people project on you. If you need any help with this, please let me know. Sometimes, all it takes is creating a quiet space so your soul can speak to you. I’d be happy to assist you in getting rid of your boxes and learning to listen to your heart!