Labels: the Self Killer

Labels: the Self Killer

As our series continues, let’s talk about labels and how they can form trip hazards on your road to self-acceptance. You’re going to need all that space and grace that you acquired from earlier posts in this series.

I’ll let Bikurgurl explain about labels since she wrote a perfect description of labels and the danger of accepting them.


Labels are deceptive

A label can make you part of a group, or exclude you. You can be one of the gang if you *are* this, but may not be a good fit if you *aren’t* that.

Why not?

Is this what society is telling us? […]Who’s keeping me, us, from just putting it all out there? […] Do we have to be so precise in our marketing of ourselves, our talents, our strengths – thereby presenting a false image of who we are – warts and all – with our weaknesses to not be touched?


— Bikurgurl from 101st Post: Storyteller…Wait, Did I miss something?

Excellent questions Bikurgurl. Society–whether it’s our friends, family, colleagues, etc–are going to apply labels to us. However, we have certain freedoms. We can choose to embrace those labels if they suit us or reject them. Kewan says it best in her post:

Most often we live with certain tags on us due to our choices and other times no fault of ours. I have had a good number of such labels[…]  I chose what labels to keep and what to trash. I know who I am.


— Kewan from A World of Labels

Kewan’s frank post lists all the labels people have applied to her with a point by point analysis of whether or not she accepts that label. Her post illustrates the power we have to define ourselves. No one should define us for us. It’s an inside job to make meaning out of the often senselessness of the world around us. You need to give yourself grace and space to do that internal work.

I can totally relate! Part of the process is learning which new piece of information to take in and which one to discard. I used to take it all in, ruminate, and drive myself crazy.


— Annie from What the Woman Wrote 

I also took in everything and drove myself nuts but not anymore. I don’t let anyone define me except me. Who I am comes from within not from without. Grace gives me the strength to reject labels that don’t fit me. We learned in Grace from Without and Within that grace comes from the creator. Carol says it best, so I’ll cede the floor to her:

The Source of all grace is God. He created us noble and that is how He views us. Nobility is close to grace for me because it means acceptance of His work. God don’t make no junk!


— Carol from WritersDream9

If you have allowed other people to dictate who you are, then stop right now and start healing that damage. Give yourself some grace and space to figure out who are you and what labels you want to apply to yourself and then embrace them.

As Rosema points out,

Healing, somehow, is a choice. A decision that lies in the hands of the heart’s owner.

— Rosema from A Reading Writer

If you stay imprisoned inside other people’s labels then you’ll end up, as Rosema described in her poem Asylum:

You locked me
inside your heart,
like an insane
trapped in the dark.

— from Asylum by Rosema

Do you reject labels that don’t fit you? Or do you accept all labels applied to you whether they are valid or not?

21 thoughts on “Labels: the Self Killer

  1. Beautiful series Melinda and all your guest quotes. I think we choose what labels fit us and which don’t. Even if we don’t like the label, we can choose to be defined by them or say, no this isn’t me, I don’t like it. This is what I am, not this. It may not stop others from labelling but at least in your heart and among friends, you truly know who you are and are not.

    For instance, sinceI suffer from depression no as a result severe fatigue, I label I never like is disabled. Though in some documents, to get money etc to live on etc. I may need to be defined this way, in life I never think of myself this way, and I hope others don’t too. I just say sometimes, it is harder for me to do things and It takes me a bit longer in some situations. But I’m no worse of than anyone else, I have learned so much having to try harder. What we have trouble with or cannot do, does not define us.

    Excellent series, looking forward to your next piece 🙂

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  2. I am very grateful that you quoted me here, dear Melinda. You have highlighted the best of us and called us to bring out more. I have had negative labels attached to me all my life. I am just now at 57 years of age learning to cast them off and finally set myself free. It is, in part through my writing that I do this. You are indeed and angel.

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    1. Thank you, you are too kind. I love this kind of thing–highlighting, analyzing and calling attention to the wonderful bloggers I have met on here. You have such a wealth of experience. I am glad I could showcase your wisdom 🙂

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  3. It is my honor to be one of your quoted individuals here, my dear Mel. Again, you made more sense and more depth to my words. ❤ (and that Asylum post was written months ago but yeah… it’s related! :D)

    I am loving this eye-opening series you;ve been sharing with us, Mel. It’s a delight to read, and most of all, it’s empowering.

    As to your question, I would say… I try to break labels (except my labels: daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend and blogger!). I can say I am somehow blessed to be around good people who have accepted me. I was never ‘out’. And I see that as a blessing, indeed. ❤
    On the other hand, I think a label a negative label… was given to me by my rich aunt. We are labelled poor. Well.. we are indeed poor. And that is always felt during family gathering. We are the servers. We don’t seat in table were the ‘rich’ aunts and uncles eat. We, my family, is an outcast. But by the grace of God, that label will be changing soon. ❤

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    1. Thank you for your kind praise. I am so glad I was able to include so many perspectives in this post. I’d like to do a follow up and quote you again 🙂 Thank you for your honest answer to the question I posed. I know you will succeed my friend. Your light can’t be dimmed.

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    1. That’s the way to be! I wondered if this series I did might be a good piece for your ezine? I have done 7 posts on grace so far and am working on 2 more follow up pieces.


  4. This is a lovely Mel! all the pieces put together! great work. I simply press the delete button for labels that do not apply to me. Thanks again for sharing. Let’s give ourselves grace and space!

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