August 14, 2013
A label describes something—a person, group, intellectual movement, etc
Labels can help us find each other, create a sense of belonging, and give us a short hand for understanding each other and the world around us.
Labels like the following can also separate, alienate, disconnect and limit our understanding of a person, group or ideology, including ourselves:
- I am a procrastinator
- He is thoughtless
- I am weak
- They are crazy
- You are lazy
- I am right
- She is wrong
I’ve spent a lifetime telling myself ‘I am’ not a presenter. So I never presented. Until one day I got sick of feeling limited and I volunteered to do a training. Since then I’ve presented numerous times and have gotten lots of positive feedback. Don’t get me wrong–It’s still not my favorite thing—I’m being pretty honest when I start a presentation with ‘I’d rather be dead than standing up here right now’. But the truth is, after about 2 or 3 minutes, ‘I am’ a presenter, and feeling kind of happy about it.
Every time we label our self or another with ‘I am’ or ‘they are’, we’ve probably limited our understanding of who we are and the unfolding of who we can become. Because we’re always so much more than our little ‘I am’s.
Try this: for a day pay attention to your ‘I am’s’ or ‘they are’s’. If they join, connect, unite or improve something, by all means keep using them.
If they separate, alienate, disconnect, or limit your growth, understanding or sense of belonging or connection, consider dropping them and simply experiencing yourself, the other person, or the situation from the inside out, without the label.
Are you aware of any labels you’ve unconsciously been using to describe yourself or others?! Please leave a comment and share your ‘I am’s’ so we can benefit from each others’ increasing awareness!