How do you define yourself? Where did that come from? Is true? Or did someone at some point give it to you?
In today’s world, people throw out a label on everything and everyone. And they do it quick. No matter who you are, what you look like, what you do, where you came from, if they know you or not, you get a label within seconds. We tend to gain these when we’re little. This may come in the form of a nick name as a kid to something someone said to us at some point. I bet we all know someone who goes by a name they were called in childhood when they are an adult. Some people get nicknames that are fun and do no harm, others are not so lucky. There seem to be a few ways we get these labels. Ourselves, Others, society.
I fall into the first category. I gave myself a label of “a girl with scars” when I was little. It wasn’t a good or bad thing necessarily. I, myself, made it a bad thing when I noticed I looked a little different from some other kids. I have been wearing that label for my entire life and until didn’t decide to change it until recently. The label didn’t change, because it never will, but the tone of how I wear that label changed. Anyone can do that, if they so choose. It seems labels we give ourselves are the hardest to change because we don’t realize we’ve given them to ourselves. We assumed the identity at some point and went with it.
The second type is that label given by others. This could be an endearing nickname that you are quite proud of. Or maybe you were a chubby baby and that somehow stuck with you. If you would keep that into adulthood, that could cause some issues if you assume the identity of “chubby.” Maybe you had a family member tell you something as a kid and for some reason, that one thing made you feel good or bad. Those things can stick with you for a long time for no reason except it made you feel really good or really bad in that one moment.
The third label, those given to us by society. Those cultural labels we get tacked on us because we look a certain way. This could mean skinny, fat, short, tall, European, American, Asian, Black, White, ugly, pretty…..this could go on. Either way, labels we are given on a daily, even hourly basis. Some of these are not wrong, or bad, non the less, they are labels. They can still have an effect on us. These are the ones that can also start when we’re young and continually get reinforced.
All of these types of labels do things to us mentally. They are defining. The problem I continue to see, is that we don’t choose how we let them define us. We let society and the world choose how they define us. As I stated earlier, I labeled myself as “a girl with scars” earlier. That label I cannot change, but I chose to change the tone of how I let it define me. I was listening to the song “Road Less Traveled”, By Lauren Alaina. A verse in that song states, “don’t let the world decide what’s beautiful.” We, as a world, need to live by that.
We let others choose and decide whats beautiful and good. We let others tell us what our label should be and then we live by that. The world will always give us labels, it will always tell us how it thinks we should feel. The key? It is up to all of us as individuals to decide if that’s what we want to be defined as.
So, are you a computer, math or engineer nerd that loves that label? Do you embrace it? Or was that just what you were good at so you assumed the identity and went with it? Are you a tough business person who grew up in a house where that was expected of you so you went with it? We don’t have to continue to live with the labels given to us by anything or anyone, we get to decide our own label. Why not make it one you are happy with and you are proud to carry? One that you choose for yourself.