What is your favorite brand to put on people? Epithets like redneck, communist, socialist, asshole, lowlife, uneducated, high-maintenance and loudmouthed are common ones. There are others that don’t seem so offensive but put boundaries around the targeted person’s character; blue collar, conservative, liberal, progressive or overly religious. When we label others, we unfairly restrict them to this description.
It seems like it is second nature for humans to use labels to describe others. This is what our ego uses to identify those who are for or against us. The problem with this approach is that we dismiss or accept another according to the descriptor we apply to them. These tags allow us to shirk our responsibility to get to know the targeted person. We apply our labels as a prism by which to judge their actions. For example, when we judge a person to be an asshole, we interpret his/her actions to be malicious even when they might be trying to be kind.
We put labels on ourselves
No one is harder on me than me. I often judge myself to be stupid, unattractive, unworthy of good things, unlovable and boring. Using self-descriptors to describe oneself is natural, but when we use them in the way I just described, they become harmful to us.
Thoughts are things, so when you identify yourself with negative descriptors, you are negating your own true potential.
There is nothing gained by using labels
Politics has divided our country in very negative ways. This is because of our penchant to put negative descriptions on those who think differently. This is nothing more than an excuse to turn a deaf ear on one another. When you classify those who have different opinions or beliefs as evil, stupid or unethical, you are opting to feel superior to them. This desire to see ourselves as better than others is allowing political fear mongers to manipulate us into picking sides. This benefits them, but it is not helping to create a greater good.
It is tempting to put people into neat little packages, but this attitude is not doing you or them any good. Place a check on your tendency to put others (and yourself) down with labels. This habit is causing you harm. It is what keeps you from growing into the person you were meant to be. It is what prevents you from creating a fulfilling and exciting life.
People are multi-faceted and connected to the Higher Consciousness that is the source of all things. The negative labels we use on ourselves and others put a boundary around what this Higher Power can accomplish through us. A better world awaits us if we see the full potential in others and embrace them with love, kindness and acceptance of all that they are.
Photo by Crystal Jo on Unsplash