As the world becomes more and more connected in every way, the barriers between people are becoming less and less significant. While things used to be more defined, we now live in a world where there is no such thing as “the average person.” Everyone has different passions and experiences.
As you look around your world, you see many different types of people. Some people are loyal to a specific cause and organization. There are the people who are skeptical of the world around them and those who have no problem with having no boundaries.
And then there are the people who are constantly struggling to find their place in this world. They are people who are looking for meaning in their lives. They are people who are looking for a way to flourish beyond labels.
As humans, it is more complex than ever to find people who share our values and feel a sense of belonging. We are a society that is constantly seeking to belong to something bigger than ourselves. We want a community where we can be accepted and feel safe.
And this is why labels are so important. They are a way of finding your tribe. They are a way of feeling at home. But they can also be an illusion and a danger to your personal and professional growth.
In this article, I will share with you five reasons why overidentifying with labels is unhealthy, and I will also share with you five ways to flourish beyond labels.
What are labels?
Labels are the invisible chains that we put on ourselves. These labels can be vague, such as “intelligent” or specific, like a religion. Most of us aren’t even aware that these labels exist because most people don’t think about them. Labels make life easier by giving general descriptions of who each person is instead of having everyone try to describe themselves every time they interact with somebody. Labels help you and others understand who someone is or what something is without actually having to say anything about it at all.
The labels that we believe in can help us see who people are and how they behave. These labels come with a range of meanings: positive, negative, or neutral. The process of self-labeling is what happens when you choose which label best describes your personality and work towards being true to it on a daily basis.
The problem with labels
In the last few years, I have observed that labels can become a way of trying to control the world around us. It can be a way of feeling safer when we do not know how to cope with the unknown. It can also be a way of feeling less lonely when we do not know how else to connect to others.
And there is the problem, right there. Labels can help us comprehend deeper meanings and relationships and maybe even be a way of feeling less lonely, but only if you are using them in a healthy way.
What are the Disadvantages of Labeling Yourself?
Although there are some benefits of self-labeling, there are also quite a few downsides. Here are a few of the most common:
Losing touch with your authentic self – When we self-label, we risk losing touch with our authentic self. Depending on how well you’re doing in your self-created role, you may start feeling better or worse about yourself. If you aren’t finding many opportunities to grow or fulfill your potential, this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even self-doubt and confusion.
Being unprepared for change – Self-labeling can also lead to being unprepared for change. If you’re convinced you know exactly where you fit in, it can make it difficult to move on to a new role in your life or at work if something unexpected or undesirable happens. It can also lead to feeling that you aren’t prepared for new challenges or opportunities that come your way.
Feeling stuck – If you aren’t actively looking to grow and fulfill your potential, self-labeling can lead to feelings of being stuck or even experiencing a lack of self-efficacy.
Having a more challenging time managing your emotions – Self-labeling can make it challenging to manage your emotions. When you aren’t actively working on building your skills and experiences, it can be difficult to feel good about yourself or know how to recharge your batteries.
The solution to labels
There is a solution to this kind of problem. It is called being mindful. It is the practice of paying attention to yourself with an open awareness, even when you do not want to or do not feel like it. It is the practice of being aware of the thoughts within you, even when you do not want to or do not feel like it.
Mindfulness is not just about paying attention to what is happening right now. It is also about how you relate to it. It is about being aware of what you are thinking about and how it makes you feel. It is about paying attention to your judgments, both the good and the bad, and then choosing how you want to relate to them.
It is not easy to practice mindfulness, but it plays a critical role in living a flourishing life as you learn not to over-identify with these labels.
So, how can you flourish beyond labels?
You could start by learning to identify the labels you use and then choosing what you want to focus on. Once you have a better understanding of your labels, you can start to let go of those that are toxic.
You can choose to use different labels to refer to yourself. You can give yourself a chance to grow beyond the labels or even upgrade a few of them.
You can also choose to practice this in your community by giving others a chance to introduce and explain themselves instead of judging them based on their perceived labels prematurely.
You can choose to think of yourself as an individual and challenge your limiting beliefs and destructive labels. You can decide to make your own meaning and life purpose. You can choose to be mindful of the labels and their benefits and disadvantages.
And that, my friends, is the end of this article.
In this article, I have discussed five reasons why labels can be unhealthy and how to flourish beyond labels.
As you can see, you do not have to let labels define who you are. It is your choice to let them go and flourish or keep using them in an unhealthy way and struggle with them. And there is no wrong or right way to do this.
There is only your choice.