What if you removed the BOX?

The one you put people in

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

I remember reading a memoir not too long ago, where the author describes a time when she was going running along a river bank and spotted something pink in the grass. Thinking back to her childhood days, she was excited at the prospect that it was Rose Quartz, only to pick it up and realize that it was merely a piece of discarded styrofoam.

When she thought it was Rose Quartz, she felt wonderful and energized with possibility and beauty, but as soon as she discovered it was styrofoam, her experience took a turn in the opposite direction–toward disgust. 

The object itself didn’t change–only her perception of it did. 

We do the same thing with people all the time. We label them, and put them in boxes, and then we only see them through the label we gave them.

She’s a bitch.

He’s a tyrant.

She’s incompetent.

He’s a bully.

She’s a gossip.

He’s a liar.


We judge others in order to protect ourselves from being vulnerable. Our labels keep us safe, and allow our ego to feel good about who we are.

Unfortunately, every time we label someone and put them in a box, it becomes extremely difficult to see them as anything other than that box. And we unknowingly look for further evidence to keep them in that box.

If that box is negative, each time we merely picture that person and their box, we can shudder in response.

And what is the result? Disconnection. We wall them off, and we all ourselves in.

What could be different, if you saw the difficult people that you work with as Rose Quartz rather than styrofoam? 

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


We’re All In This Together

by Grace de Rond

“Leadership is important.” With Charlie Katz & Dorothy Gibbons

by Charlie Katz

The Wisdom of Moms

by Alan Khazei

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.