Why Do People Get Tattoos?

back_tattoo_editedTattoos have been around for thousands of years, marking the skins of individuals from tribes and ancient civilizations.
Tattoos have made their way up until present, bearing messages and symbols on the skins of millions of people around the modern globe.

But let’s take a closer look at what makes people tattoo themselves and the underlying reasons that push people to “enhance” their bodies.

The Obvious Reasons for Tattoos

aztec_editedAncient cultures used Tattoos not only for their visual benefits but to also transmit a message.
To transmit one’s deed.
One of the first groups of people to „benefit” from tattoos were the convicted criminals who bore witness to their deeds on their face.

You could even consider the Mark of Cain a representation of a tattoo, a sign for one’s transgressions against his brother.

Then tattoos were adopted by castes, families and secret societies.
They represented one’s affiliations and their status as well.

Newly proved young warriors in a tribe would get their skin tattooed in order to demonstrate to others that they are manly enough.
Personal believes were also inscribed in one’s skin to further prove to others their way of life.

Tattoos Used to actually Prove Something

It is always a problem when someone does something just to prove the others his ideas, his believes.

People don’t have to prove anything to anyone, and any attempt at doing so is a clear sign of a great Ego in one’s mind.

Nowadays, people get tattoos just to show others how “original”, rebellious and cool they are.
It is an instinctual of the moment action that leads one to exteriorise his current suffering, changes they go through or state of the moment into a message forever embedded on their skin.
It actually serves as a reminder of suffering. Why would you attach yourself, when the whole key concept behind avoiding suffering is to not be attached?

arm_tatoo_editedTattooing one’s wife or girlfriend only shows the need to secure his love with that person, it is only a reason to show insecurity and to compensate for the actual lack of love for that person.
Love means freedom, non-attachment. When you attach yourself to a name written on your hand, you will take a part of the love you feel and throw it away on this crazy idea.

Furthermore, tattoos have been widely poured down our throats by celebrities in the media who expose a wide variety and even density of tattoos on their bodies.
Since these celebrities are seen as “symbols” and a source of “inspiration” by millions, those said millions will try and copy their idols.

Tattoos Influenced by Media

Many have seen David Beckham waving around this heavily tattooed arms.
Same goes with other celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Lady Gaga, Pink or Robbie Williams.

Again, it all comes down to how we perceive our decisions.
Are they externally influenced and in a subtle manner inscribed in our subconscious to go forward and get a tattoo?

Are we “Living the Dream” meaning someone else’s, or are we doing it purely and undeniably because of our own believes?

This is the most important question one needs to ask himself when being taken over by the urge to get a tattoo.

The Underlying Reasons why People Get Tattoos

Taking out of the equation that fact the one might be influenced to get a tattoo, we will notice a pattern that makes people give in this temptation.

A couple just broke up. The man feels empty. He feels a part of him has been taken away (see the primary reasons for suffering) and in the hopes of becoming “better” in front of his ex-girlfriend, he tries to compensate by getting a tattoo.
“That will show her how cool I am. Now I am a bad boy just like those on TV and she will be coming back at me all wet and in love with my new me” – this is a common way of thinking and many do not have the slightest idea that their subconscious is thinking this way.

Nowadays tattoos are born out of suffering, out of a tragic event.
Tattoos are associated with loss, with suffering.

What does this tell us?
It tells us that it is a need to compensate.
That loss has to be compensated for something and in return we “enhance our bodies”.
We pimp ourselves.
When you are unhappy with your car, you will repaint it, add some stickers and change its appearance to be more content with it.

Same with our bodies, we are unhappy, we feel empty and we need to compensate.
Is it really necessary to accessorize one’s body in order to be more liked, more accepted?

“Hey, I am not complete as a person, something is missing and I need to compensate for that. Tattoos are cool, different and bad ass, so therefore I will pimp my body in order to change, to become better”.
These might be the general conflicting thoughts that arise in this movement for tattoos of the 21st century and make no mistake, these are the same reasons why the ancients tattooed themselves – as presented in the first part of the article.

Have you ever seen a Lamborghini with decals on it? No you haven’t because that car is one of the best looking cars out there – or that’s what the owners think anyway.
What about an old basic car? Plenty of those with “enhancements” and pimp-like decals and what not.
That’s because the driver feels his car needs something extra to consider it beautiful. And it is a fair point when talking about material objects like cars.

But your body and you could be considered the Lamborghini of humanity. You do not have to pimp it out.

Before you rush into the heat of the moment to get a tattoo, consider the motives and underlying reasons for this act.

Is it to prove something? Is it to compensate for something you are lacking?
How can a tattooed image give back that element of your life that you are missing?

Maybe you’ve been searching for the missing puzzle piece in all the wrong places and it was in front of your eyes all along.
Better said, it was inside of you 🙂

Until next time,


photo credit: bodyartsoul, BBC, matsimela

Vlad Ciupitu

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