In the past year or so my acute sense of hearing has become almost overwhelming for me. Stay with me here for a second and I’ll get you on the same page as me, honest. I have become super sensitive to the language people choose to use about a situation, another person or especially, themselves. It is so interesting. Interesting and sometimes absolutely mind boggling.
“I’m stupid; fat, shy, negative, a bad person, a loser…”, the list goes on. I am not making these statements up, these are actual words that people have used to describe themselves to me in conversation. After my initial reaction, usually internal but sometimes quite visceral I start to wonder. Who decided that’s who you are? Who gave you that label and perhaps more importantly, what makes you choose to hang on to it?
When we start out on this planet, we are all perfect. Just ask any new parent. There are no flaws in a newborn. Doesn’t even have to be a human newborn. Think about it, what baby creature is not absolutely perfect and adorable? So what happens? How does that perfect life form end up identifying themselves as “stupid” , “a loser”, or whatever word they use? Sometimes it is due to a fleeting comment made by someone influential or important in their life and it just stuck with them. Sometimes it comes from years and years of being in an environment where this was a common belief that you were sold and bought into.
Sometimes the “labels” are completely harmless, yet a lot of times, there aren’t harmless and have become a deeply rooted belief that someone holds for themself. They are rate limiting in terms of moving forward because if you’re “shy”, how can you meet people or speak publicly? If you’re “stupid” how can you learn something new?
Sometimes, however, these labels can become a convenient excuse for not making change. Even when you are desperate to make it and know that it’s time. The label you choose to wear keeps you firmly stuck in a rut. You wear your label proudly, despite it being a lie. It becomes a rather convenient badge of honour to carry around. Almost like a shield. It protects you from stepping into something different because, well, that’s just who you are…didn’t you read the label?
There is good news, of course. You can remove a label or scribble over it and amend it. You can decide what label you want to wear. Designed by and for you, and guess what? You can have many different ones. Point being, carrying around a label that someone else has given to you is okay if you actually want it and believe it. However, if you realize that it is untrue, rip it off and make your own! You can choose how you want to be. Get curious.