What’s The Real Problem With Labels?
Have you ever been told that you’re a looser, a quitter, fat, sloppy, skinny, ugly stupid, lazy, clumsy, no good, a liar, you’ll never change, or that you’re too this or too that? Seriously there are so many mean and hurtful things people say about others that it’s astounding.
Sometimes we’re told these things by people who are trying to hurt us. Mostly this is because they’ve learned that hurting others is a way to feel better about themselves, because they believe that if they tear others down enough, it lifts them up. Yeah, I know, that’s a bizarre behavior.
The real kicker is that many of these labels are offered us by people we love, people that matter to us, who are acting out flawed behavioral scripts. Someone can care for you and still say mean things, they can throw labels at you when their angry, frustrated, or hurting that they’d never dream of using normally.
But why they do it is a topic for another post because why they do it has nothing to do with you. What really matters is what you do with these labels when they’re offered to you.
That’s right. No one can give you a label but you!
So the question is, “Are you going to accept all the labels you’re given?”
I hope you said, “No!”
The truth is; some labels can be helpful and some are harmful. The real problem with labels is that if you start believing them, they can become your identity. Once a label becomes your identity your subconscious mind starts finding ways to make sure your behavior matches that belief. The belief in a personal label can be so powerful that a harmful label can easily destroy lives while an empowering label can create amazing successes.
So be very careful what labels you accept.
What to do if Someone Offers You a Label
When someone tells you you’re ________________ (you fill in the blank). You have the choice to accept their opinion as fact, to disregard it completely, or to reflect on whether there is any truth in their opinion.
If it’s something blatantly mean and hurtful, then just throw it out. Realize that they’re acting out a behavioral script they learned to cope with anger, hurt, or other stresses. This never makes the mean or hurtful behavior right or acceptable. It just helps you keep it in perspective.
You might say, “Thank you.” Or, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” You can stay calm and remind yourself that you’re different than that label. You can ignore the comment entirely. You can also respectfully leave and resume the conversation when the other person calms down.
The key when refusing a label is to remain calm and let it slide on by. Even if you explore the possibility that there might be some truth to what they said, you can do it in a calm manner. When you get emotional about the label you give it focus. That gives it power because your subconscious mind uses emotion and focus to determine how important something is.
So stay calm and remember that you are who you choose to be.
What if the label is an empowering one, something that builds you up? Thank the person. Feel free to accept these labels when they align with your path, and if you do, then get excited that the person thinks You’re Smart, You’re Strong, You’re Healthy, You’re Persistent, You’re Clean, You’re Powerful, You’re Kind, You’re Graceful, You’re Honest…Etc. Having a powerful emotional response to an empowering label helps it stick and that helps it become a belief.
Remember; Your Beliefs Shape Your World.
There is another layer to labels and we’ll discuss that later. For now, remember to throw them out unless they serve you and keep the empowering ones you want.
You are The Master of Your Destiny!
Copyright © 2014 Roland Byrd
Image from Flickr.com, used under limited license. Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/laenulfean/476027925