At times throughout our life many more labels have been and will be added to describe us. Sometimes those labels will be positive and other times negative. As we have labelled those around us, they have labelled us. Lets be honest here. We have all at one time or another placed a label to someone. How many labels have been positive and how many have been negative?
What if your labels were not only to give you an identity but to also define you as a person? Most of our labels describe us as nouns like the ones listed above. Other labels however, can be more in the form of adjectives, words that are descriptive as well as labeling They can describe certain traits or attributes about our temperaments and personalities.
As we grow, develop and interact with our environment, different labels will be attached to us and used to describe us as an individual. Some labels will stay with us over time such as daughter or son, and some labels will change daily as we change or behave.
As you have probably already experienced, not all labels are positive. Some labels can be very damaging to our self esteem and self confidence. If you hear it often enough you start to believe it. If someone is always feeding you negative labels and information you will only receive the negative. And soon you will believe it. Your self esteem gets beaten down and it is hard to see anything positive about yourself.
When this happens we sometimes take on those labels whether they are real or not.
And at times we have been the source of our own labels. Remember the old adage – one's own worse enemy? We can be the most unkind to ourselves.
How often have you stopped and thought how a label affects how you feel about something or someone? We often base our own opinions on the opinions of others. Have you ever heard the phrases, “if you hear it often enough you begin to believe it, whether its true or not”? or “if my mom said it, it must be true”? Labels can be both empowering and demeaning.
YOU CAN DO MANY THINGS WITH THE HUMAN SPIRIT JUST BY WHISPERING A FEW WORDS
The old adage “if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all”, really comes to mind here. If we were to all live by this one little rule, how much nicer our interactions would be. One's self confidence and esteem would flourish. Unfortunately, that is not the case. So the question and challenge now is how do we go about changing and creating labels that are more positive and empowering?
I would like to challenge you to change yourself first. Stop and think before labeling someone. Is this the most positive way I could describe this person or say what I have to say? Be aware of how you are feeling and your own emotions. Our emotions often colour how we see the things around us. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling that would influence the labels I use?”
At times it is not what we say but how we say it.
Sometimes we may react to a slight perceived from someone and in return want to retaliate. It is often in this manner that our words can hurt the most.
Be aware of yourself and your emotions when labeling someone.
WORDS HURT AND LEAVE BRUISES WE CANNOT SEE BUT LAST A LONG TIME
How often have you said something that you later apologized for? How often did you not apologize? To say that it's okay that everyone does it, is not okay. It is up to us as individuals to make a conscious effort to change the we way we label one another and ourselves. Sometimes people say things without realizing how they sound to those who hear their words and its important that we do.
There are times too we hear these words when we are in a bad spot in our emotions or feeling our pain. Often we react out of the hurt we feel from what was said but also from what our bodies are feeling. That often causes us to over react to what was said. Has this ever happened to you? When our bodies are hurting it can cause us to lash out too, sometimes saying and acting in a manner that is the pain talking but is still hurtful to the person its directed to or to who witnesses our meltdowns.
Its hard enough to handle the outside world when its unkind but its harder still when we label ourselves negatively with words that hurt. Sometimes our emotions, thoughts and feelings can be so negative that we don't need anyone else to give us negative labels because we are good enough at giving them to ourselves! We are our own worst enemies at this point. Why?
It is important to remember that we need to start with ourselves first. Be kinder and more gentle with how we label ourselves. We need to be careful with the labels we allow others to place on us also.
The hardest part is learning how to filter the negative out. Not to listen to it. Not to give it a voice.
The exercise I would like to challenge you with now is to think about all of the labels you wear on a daily basis. Add in the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be honest about the labels you are wearing.
You cannot change what you do not acknowledge
Once you have your list of labels, write down why you think you deserve that label. Ask yourself honestly what attribute is this describing? Challenge yourself – Do I really deserve this negative label?
Now...here comes the challenge.
Take every negative label that you have written down and turn it into a positive. It can be tricky changing how we perceive ourselves. Sometimes we may need help in getting a different and often more realistic perspective on ourselves. Ask someone you trust to be honest and helpful with the exercise.
We often don't see ourselves as others see us. And we can be so very unkind to ourselves when our emotions, feelings and thoughts are already negative. I hope with this exercise you can see through the negative in your life and start seeing it for the positive it really can be.
We need to start with ourselves first. If we can learn to label ourselves positively it will help us to label those we come in contact with in a more positive light as well.
Negative feelings only bring negative thoughts. It's time for a change. Let it begin with you first.
take good care of you ok?