Don’t Let The Labels Stick
Has anyone ever given you a label that you can't get out of your mind? Placing a label on ourselves or others is harmful for 6 reasons.
What Is Labeling
Has anyone ever given you a label that you can't get out of your mind? My neighbor used to always call me the "dumb blonde," and I really let it get to me. Labels are things that you call yourself in your head. You may tell yourself that you are "selfish," "lazy," "stupid," "hypocrite," "slut," "retard," "black," "bully," "white," "fat," "rich," "athlete," "poor," "nerd,"or "ugly." Or maybe you call others these names behind their back. Bianca Piper, in The Duff says near the end of the movie "No matter what label is thrown your way, only you can define yourself."
Why It's Harmful
It astonishes me how one simple word or phrase carries the power to destroy our self-confidence. Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter teaches that "it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."
Placing a label on ourselves or others is harmful for 6 reasons:
1. They limit our capacity to become our true selves.
2. They assume that we will never grow or change.
3. They create an "us" versus "them" mentality.
4. They can give a false sense of superiority.
5. They give us false expectations of a person.
- They create stereotypes, biases, fears, and stigmas.
How To Remove These Damaging Labels
Labels are for jars, filing, and clothing. Not for people. However, labels are only effective if you let them "stick" to you, just like they stick to a jar. In the book, You Are Special, written by Max Lucado, there are wooden creatures also known as "Wemmicks." The Wemmicks who are wealthy, beautiful, and talented receive gold stars. The people who are uncoordinated, unpopular, ugly, or clumsy receive gray dots. One day, the main Wemmick in the story, Punchinello, meets a lady named Lucia. This woman doesn't have any stars or dots because they don't stick to her. Punchinello is a Wemmick with many dots, and feels like a complete failure in every possible way. The other Wemmicks are constantly mocking Punchinello, calling him names, and putting gray dots all over him. By the end of the book he learns to be like his friend Lucia, by not letting any of the dots or stars stick to him. He stopped caring about what other people thought of him, and found confidence within himself.
The labels people throw at you can be hard to brush off sometimes. In order to follow Punchinello's example and not let them "STICK," to you, follow these steps:
S et aside other people's voices and find your own
T ake the time to discern which labels you have about yourself and other people
I mplement daily positive self-talk
C all out anyone who uses a hurtful label towards themselves or someone else
K eep striving to be better