This is another question from goodlifezen.com.
There are some ‘labels’ that are simply descriptions, then there are labels that actually restrict. For example, I am an introvert. This describes how I interact with people and the world. I know that large groups of people I don’t know drain my energy. I know that making small talk is uncomfortable for me. But when I say ‘I don’t like people’, that is a label that restricts. I do like people – I enjoy deep, philosophical conversations; I like to laugh with people; I like to make art with people. What I don’t like are large groups of strangers and people with whom I don’t or can’t connect.
Also, I’m fat. This is a descriptor. I carry more fat on my body, especially around my middle, than is probably necessary. In this thin-obsessed society I get a lot of external feedback telling me that fat is bad. Because I am fat I am also lazy, ugly, unlovable and undesirable. Sometimes I believe that. When I believe these things I stop living my life – I don’t dance, I don’t go out, I don’t shower. Or I live someone else’s life – exercise hard (for a week), eat only salad, drink only water (for a while). So, while I probably ought to get my body moving a bit more often I will never again do it simply to lose weight. (this is a good essay about that!) To be honest, when the apocalypse comes I’m likely to be one of the winners. I can eat almost anything and gain weight, so it’ll take a long time for me to starve to death. Having to move my bulk around on a daily basis has already made me stronger than the thinnest, ‘prettiest’ person around today. Plus we all know that the ‘thin & pretty’ message pushed on women since childhood is simply a way to keep us ‘in our place’. But, I digress.
I give myself the label ‘intelligent’ – and there is some proof to support this label. But, if I imagine that I am intelligent only because I have a ridiculous amount of education then that makes me elitist and snobbish. Being elitist and snobbish restricts the kind of people I associate with and the kinds of experiences I might have. If I think of my intelligence as a tool to help me solve problems, explore my world, and generally live a big life then being intelligent frees me it doesn’t restrict. So, there are labels that restrict me, yes. But turned around and viewed as descriptions with neutral connotations I can use them to better understand myself.
Do you put labels on yourself? Do they help you or do they restrict you?
Be Lovely To Each Other,