Quite often, we use labels on ourselves and others without even realizing that we are doing it. And most often, they are negative. What we don’t realize is how much these labels can hurt us and others. The challenge is, whatever you state to yourself repetitively, even if you know on a conscious level that it is not true, your subconscious mind believes it. For example, after misplacing something, have you ever said to yourself, “I am so stupid.” You know that you are just annoyed but your subconscious takes you seriously. Once your subconscious mind believes something, it sets out to confirm its belief and it can self sabotage your efforts to change and grow. In fact, you may be holding several labels on yourself that you are not even aware of because you have been saying and believing them for so long. They may be about how well you believe you can learn, cook, drive or even show up on time.These labels literately control your life and stop you from moving forward. In addition, when we use labels on other people, just as in judging, we start to see only the label. Labels are stagnating and do not allow the other person to grow. People will look for information that confirms the label that has been placed on a person. They will speak to the person according to their label and don’t hear anything beyond it. People will literately ignore anything that isn’t in line with their belief about the other person and the label they put on them. For example, if you believed that a person was clumsy and always stated that they were clumsy, you would ignore all the times that they walked or did anything with grace and ease. Then if anything happened that even remotely looked clumsy you then would say, “See, what did I tell you, you’re always so
This can make the person very nervous in front of you and the more the person worries the more likely it is for something to happen. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have seen some men do this to women when they believe that all women are too emotional. The woman could go for months and not be upset with anything then something happens, he will go, “See, what did I tell you, women always get upset.” All along ‘forgetting’ when they, themselves were upset. Sometimes these men will even provoke the other person, by saying to them repeatedly, now don’t get upset. This is treating the other person in a way that you believe they will react which in turn creates the very behavior that you were hoping to avoid in the first place.
People see and hear what they want to believe. And compounding that is, what you see and hear is filtered through your bias. So in the end you receive only a partial message that leaves out anything that contradicts your beliefs. Sometimes people hold back information from the other person in the hopes of confusing them to keep their belief alive about the other person’s abilities. This creates the behavior that the other person wants to prove. Labeling can also lead to criticism, bigotry, and hatred. Especially when small children are listening to us. They are learning how to act in society and repeat what they hear, which in turn affects how their future will turn out.
- Trouble maker
- Good / Bad
- Right / Wrong
Even positive labels can hurt and annoy. There are people who and said that they are tired of always hearing that they are the cute, good, smart one etc. It stifles who they are and their potential to grow if they believe they must stay within the label.
Ask yourself, what labels you use on yourself and others. Start noting how often you say them and ask yourself, do you believe they are true. Then start replacing them with sayings that are more productive in growing to your own potential.While you are doing that, contemplate on this quote.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. –Carl Jung