You Are Not Your Appearance…

I grew up in a generation where appearance meant everything. Guy with long hair? You needed to get a haircut and get a job. Covered in tattoos? You were probably trouble and couldn’t be hired. Don’t even get me started on someone who happened to have piercings anywhere ELSE than in one’s earlobes. And only on women. Obviously. But times have changed and all lot of those statements are considered discriminatory against a person.

In some ways, a lot of ways, that makes sense. If I get a tattoo on my forearm, it doesn’t change my qualifications or my personality. It doesn’t make me a different person or incapable of being a nice guy and paying attention to others in a meaningful way. Most markets have started to move towards acceptance (in small doses) where coloured hair and tattoos are less of an employability and acceptance issue.

The only issue I have is when people use these things as a means of creating an identity for themselves. I’ve seen and I know a lot of people who do it JUST because “it defines me, it defines who I am.” That right there is bullshit, my friend. If you colour your hair, get a batch of tattoos or start piercing holes in your body to define who you are, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. (Remember please, that this is an opinion post)

Keep in mind that there is no better definition of you than YOU. What you wear, how you adorn yourself and what decorations you throw up on your flesh doesn’t define who you are. And if you intend on permanently altering your body in such a way, it’s important to ensure that you do it for good cause and because it represents something important other than trying to define you as a person.

Let me offer up a personal experience. In mid-2000, I got my first tattoo. Against the advice of most common-sense people, I got some Japanese writing on my left pec muscle. This wasn’t just any Japanese writing, since we’ve read the horror stories about getting something you thought said “hope” when really it says “sweet ‘n sour chicken” or some shit. This was the kanji symbol for Uechi Ryu, the Okinawan style of karate I had been studying for over a decade at that point.

It had meaning. It represented something important in my life and it was a reminder of the commitment I had made to myself towards my training and martial arts. It didn’t define who I was, I didn’t splash the symbols large and prominent on my face, neck or forearms for every person to stop and either ask where I got it but likely to also smear at me like I’m some sort of trouble maker. Although that sort of discrimination has lessened over the past couple of decades, it still very much exists. But this is a post about oneself, not the world’s narrow views. Moving on.

My point in all of this, such as it is, is that I didn’t use some external detail to define me as a person. And neither should you. Like tattoos? Great! Get one because you want one and it means something to you, not because you feel it will define you to others. THAT’s the point. THAT’s the lesson. Who you are is who you are. Nothing you do or add will change that. It’s what you DO that can be changed. Your appearance doesn’t define you. There is no better definition of YOU than YOU. Once you come to recognize that fact, the rest is just gravy. Food for thought…☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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