Box Thinking


fullsizeoutput_1f56From the moment I came out of my Mother’s wound, I was placed in a box. The box of what other’s thought I would and should be. The box of what others taught me was the only right way to belief. The box of how others informed me I should think.

I was taught things such as you meet that special one, get married, have children and live happily ever after. Oh, and let’s not forget that the special one must be of opposite gender and of the same race.

I watched my Mom live with the man known as my father for 25 years. It was not a healthy relationship but she stayed because box thinking told her it was the right thing to do. Miserable or not, “I must stay because that’s what Christians do.”

I was taught that you must believe in Christianity as the only way and all other ways of thinking were wrong. If you weren’t a Christian, you were going to this place called Hell.

I was taught that men have certain functions in the home and women have certain functions.

I was taught that boys wear blue and girls wear pink.  Boys play sports and girls are the cheerleaders.

I was taught that women are nurses and men are doctors.

For most of my life, I remained in the box out of fear. Fear of thinking for myself. Fear of listening to my own spirit for guidance. Fear of what others, including family, would think.

Box thinking will keep you stuck. Stuck in the “way we’ve always done it.”

Sitting at my desk reflecting and writing, I am thinking about what a big world there is out there. Thinking about all the beauty there is to experience. All the culture there is to experience. And here I sit.

I always said, “If anything ever happens to my Mom I am moving to a different country.” She’s been gone for 8 years and here I am. So, it wasn’t her keeping me in the box at all. It was my box thinking and cultural indoctrination of the way things should be.

There is so much of life to experience and many of us live our entire life in the same spot, on the same job and with the same person. Now, I am not saying that is wrong. I am only trying to provoke thought and ask the question, “What else is outside this box?”

As I’ve traveled to many other countries, I have learned that there is a lot outside the box and that all the things I was taught are not necessarily the truth. Your truth may be completely different from my truth. Walk in your truth.

I have also found myself stuck in box thinking as it relates to choosing a romantic partner. I had all these preconceived ideas about what he should look like, what he should do for a living, how much money he should have, and he should own his own home and be self-sufficient. That’s my box thinking but what if God has another idea? What if he has someone else for me who doesn’t meet my preconceived criteria but they are loving, kind, compassionate, caring and would be with me until the end. I pass them up because they do not fit in my box.

If I had listened completely to my box thinking, I wouldn’t have been a nurse for the past 31 years and would have missed out on my vocation. Because remember, women are nurses and men are doctors. If I had listened completely to my box thinking, I would have lived a life of fear because of this place called “Hell” that people go to and burn forever if they are not a “Christian.” Grateful to have come to the realization that Hell is a state of mind and not a physical destination at all. Glad I stopped drinking that Kool-Aid that was used as a fear tactic by the church.

I feel very blessed to be moving to a new level of awareness daily and evolving to a greater understanding.

Get out of the box today. Open your mind and spirit to all the infinite possibilities that await you. They can only be yours if you get away from the box thinking that is full of limitations, barriers, and restrictions.


Vince Shifflett, RN BSN CCRN



Hi, I’m Vince. I am a Critical Care Registered Nurse and Author. Welcome to my site. On this site you will be provided inspirational, educational, motivational and thought provoking articles. It is my mission to have this information help you achieve Optimal Health which includes your  Physical Health, Spiritual Health, and Mental Health. My ultimate goal is to create change and stimulate self-healing. I would love to have your support by entering your email address on this site to receive my monthly articles. I look forward to your feedback.



10 Replies to “Box Thinking”

  1. We spend a lifetime effort of stripping away all our “shoulds”
    All the constraints everybody else imposes on me.

  2. So thankful for your writings!!! I too was in a box like your mom and thankful I broke down cultural and “religious “ notions and broke free!!! Now the struggle is staying FREE and not allowing yourself to get into another box!!! Thanks!!!! You are appreciated!!!

    1. Pam,

      I love this. You are so right. The challenge is not getting right back into another box. I appreciate your friendship and feedback.


  3. Loved this one Vince. One thing. First sentence, I think maybe you meant “womb” versus “wound”. Just an observation and not a critique. Again a lovey read. Thank you

    1. Stephen,

      LOL. Yes, I meant womb. Thanks for that. I appreciate you so much and appreciate your love and support of my passion to write and share my journey.


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