Our society loves to assign a label to everything. We label states, cities, streets, cars, planes, clothing, food, restaurants – heck, we label people! You may be wearing a label that either someone gave you or you have given to yourself. Be warned, there is a fine line between owning your label and your label owning you!
Our society has many different types of labels for people.
A label on a group or individual can:
- Indicate a person’s age (such as newborn baby, infant, toddler, preschooler, kid, pre-teen, teenager, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, young adult or senior citizen.)
- Indicate a personal race or ethnicity (such as white, Caucasian, black, African-American, Negro, Hispanic or Latino)
- Indicate a person’s nationality (American, Canadian or Mexican)
- Indicate a person’s faith (Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or Agnostic)
- Indicate a person’s political views (republican, democrat, libertarian, conservative or liberal)
- Indicate a person’s sexual orientation (straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite or queer)
Labels can be used to serve a purpose.
There are people that argue the labels are really a way to place us all into a demographic. The people are marketing departments, sales persons and advertisers. They tell us that they need to place these labels on us, so they can better target us with advertisements. This does have some logic to it. For example, an advertisement for a medic alert system would have a better chance to sell to a senior citizen than to a senior in high school.
Giving ourselves labels can impact our lives.
Labels that we choose for ourselves from a religious faith, a political alignment, or a culture such as race or nationality, we tend to wear with pride. Labels that we wear with pride often lead us to radiate positive vibes and attract the right kind of people into our lives.
Labels can be empowering.
When growing our circle of personal and professional relationships, knowing our own labels are beneficial. When we know what labels of our own that we value, we can seek out like minded people who have the same or similar labels. When we do this, we have a better chance to be around someone who will bring joy and pleasure to our lives instead of grief and regret.
Dealing with labels that are detrimental
On the other side of the coin, if we choose labels for ourselves that damages our self-esteem, self-confidence and/or our pride, then we need to ask ourselves one question: Is this label really who I am? If the answer is no, then disregard that label and find yourself a new label. If the answer is yes, then we need to find a way to be proud of that label.
If a label we have chosen for ourselves is accurate but leaves us feeling ashamed, then it is time to gain a new perspective on that label.
Receiving labels from others.
As I have said before (and I will say again) our culture likes to label people. When (notice I did not say if) someone gives you a label, before you accept it and start wearing it, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is this label true about me?
- Does this label fit me?
- Was this label given to me as a compliment?
If you answer “no” to any of those questions, you may want to think twice before wearing the assigned label.
Labels can be dangerous
Sadly, some people will use labels for evil.
We all know people who will throw round the labels like republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, gay, lesbian, divorced, single parent, etc., as if they were dirty or obscene words.
I have witnessed one person saying, “Joe Smith is a good conservative” in front of someone he knew was a liberal in a tone that said, “Joe is better than you are because he is a conservative.”
For some reason that totally eludes me, there are people out there whose faces light up with glee as they gloat about other people misfortunes who wear the opposite label from their own.
When you encounter such a person, regardless if they are attacking our label or not, run! They are toxic people who, at best, will delay you to reaching the success you dream of for your life.
Be careful with labels!
Don’t go crazy with your label maker labeling everyone you meet. I suggest you put that label maker away and never pull it out again. It has been my experience from watching others, that when you label someone then you start making assumptions about who they are, their values and their beliefs. This is not only the wrong thing to do, it is very dangerous because you know what they say about assumptions (when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me,) Those assumptions can create a lifelong lasting wedge in a relationship over something you assume about the other person that was never true.
Be sure to own your label!
Regardless of what your label is, be sure to own it. Always be proud of who you are regardless what others, or our society says. Remember, if you have a label that no longer is you, or you are ashamed of having, you can always make changes in your life to wear the label you desire!