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.
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?