Unboxed Life

Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.

How You Being You Helps Me Be Me… And Visa Versa

Conformity. Mediocrity. Passivity.

These are concepts we talk about a lot here at Unboxed Life. What is it that all these concepts have in common or ties them together? What is the question that begs to be asked when we adopt the disdain of the above ways of living?

When I look around, I learn something, and that is…to be always yourself. And to express yourself, to have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate him. That’s the prevalent thing today, though. They [people today] never start from the root of their being, that is–how can I be me?

-Bruce Lee

How can I be me? A question that at first glance seems to be simple or not worth contemplation. But upon reflection we can see how actually difficult it is to answer this. What we think of as being “ourselves” is often a byproduct of what we think we should be and what others want us to be. How often to we dictate how we live our life by what we see others doing? To find the answers to this question we have to open up our mind, look at the world and our purpose in it with new eyes, ones that are free from the predisposed ideas we have about who we are, and see who we are meant to be.

There seems to exist an underlying fear in our society of being labeled “different” or “unique” like those makes us into something specific. Those things that we are when we are different have a negative connotation and thus have become things to avoid. We are placed in tidy boxes where we are told what is and isn’t socially acceptable and are told to choose our life from these choices. What if who I am isn’t one of the choices?

This sad fact exists whether we like it or not. Agreed? The power we can draw from it is to acknowledge it, but not let it dictate our actions and seek out the best us from what is in our heart and soul. You can call it purpose. A calling. A destiny. Or you can just call it doing what feels good. No matter what you want to call it, the idea is to shed the weights of expectation and uniformity and to pursue your individual purpose here on Earth. Not only will your life have more happiness and purpose, but your light will shine on others and help them to escape the bondage of their own boxes simply by seeing your example.

This is where the next, and probably more important part of this pursuit comes in. Ask yourself, am I not only being me to my fullest extent, but am I creating a space where others get to be their best too, flaws and all? A world where we live independent of each other and our actions don’t affect others is not the world we live in or a world that would be very much fun to be in. We should each be doing whatever we can to help others realize their own best version of themselves even if we don’t see it as the best for us. That is the beautiful part, we can all be our own best and it doesn’t take away from my happiness to see others being happy. This means not judging, tearing down, or otherwise placing barriers around others. You can have your opinions, thoughts, and values, but realize that others have them too and yours are not more right than theirs.

It is difficult when you feel like you are living your life the best way you know how and all you get from others is misunderstandings, judgment, ridicule, and negativity. No one will be able to fully realize their potential when they are surrounded by that. This is not to say that we don’t wrong others from time to time. We have all done it, made mistakes, we are human. Part of us being our best versions and also helping others be their best is practicing forgiveness. There is a line in my favorite movie that goes, “When you forgive, you love, and when you love, God’s light shines on you.” This sort of says it all, that forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the person you are forgiving. Allow others to be imperfect, to learn, and to pursue their purpose in life. That’s what we are all here to do right?

Let’s all start from the root of things, the very basis of what it means to live. Let’s leave behind all the barriers and boxes that seek to stifle our growth as individual beings. Have faith in yourself, and more importantly, have  faith in others that behind all the shit that happens in life, we are all here, together, just trying to get by and find what this life means. Instead of tearing that down or building up walls, seek to find what it means to be you, and help others find what it means to be them.

All photos: Taken by Tanner Colton, all rights reserved 2012

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9 comments on “How You Being You Helps Me Be Me… And Visa Versa

  1. Jennifer Stuart
    September 26, 2012

    I like too how in my own mind, the connotations of being “different” are more negative than the connotations of being “unique”. I see “unique” as a positive word, and being “different” as a more scary or negative one. I’d like to make an intention that when I find myself judging a work I’ve made or created as being too “different” from what I’d like, that I can change that word to “unique” and realize that it means the same thing, but with a more empowered spin.
    Great work, as always 🙂

    • Tanner Colton
      September 26, 2012

      Hahah, the funny thing is that makes a lot of sense to me. I think the question to ask is what is it different from? Like you said, if something you do is different from what is really you, then yes, that might not be the best. I love how you mention empowerment, this is a concept that I think is often misused. Just as you say here real empowerment is when a person feels like the have a choice, or have made a choice for something better. You choose to see the word unique as more powerful, and you are allowed to make that choice. Empowerment happens when people get to make choices for a better life or situation. It has nothing to do with money, things, or anything else. Choice is what its all about. As always Jennifer your comments make me think even more and it is much appreciated. Take care.

      • Jennifer Stuart
        September 26, 2012

        You take care as well. I guess I didn’t think of all the meanings of empowerment…that is super interesting! Yes, the power to make a choice! I feel like that is the whole goal of many of my practices- to be able to make a choice in the moment for how I want to act, rather than being mindlessly absorbed in a pattern or reaction. Ah, so wonderful to think of these things!

      • Tanner Colton
        September 26, 2012

        You got it! Thanks again for taking the time to interact with my work. Take care.

  2. Angel B
    September 27, 2012

    Great post Tanner and also great comment Jennifer! We are connected but at the same time all trying to express our individuality to the world thru our actions. This only strengthens and solidifies not only the connection with ourselves internally but also our connection and relationships with others! As always Tanner very thought provoking!

    • Tanner Colton
      September 27, 2012

      Thanks AngelB, as always your comments are much appreciated. It really is a strange interaction where we all should pursue our individual paths in life, while at the same time realizing that our path is connected with everyone else’s. We must choose how our life will affect the world around us, either positivley or negativley. Thanks again AngelB, take care.

  3. kolena
    September 27, 2012

    I think to really empower someone is to allow them to be themselves and think freely. The beautiful thing about life is that we are all different, and that should be something exciting not negative. Even if we don’t agree with someone’s opinion does not mean we cannot have an open conversation with them. The more open our minds and hearts are to the world and the people around us,the more we learn and grow as people.

    • Tanner Colton
      September 27, 2012

      Thank you Kolena, I think you are right on track with things. I feel like having conversation with people whos opinions or views differ from my own is more valuable than talking with people who agree with me. It allows me to see other viewpoints and to have my own held views be questioned, which is a great thing. Thank you for the comment Kolena.

  4. The Professor
    September 30, 2012

    Authenticity, more than anything, is the true ingredient for change.

    Mark Blasini

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