Is there something wrong with me? Why do others label me?
Why do you do what you do? Was there a moment in your life when someone told you something about yourself that left marks for years to come?
Do you do what you do because that is what you believe to be true? It is not true, just because someone has labeled you in the past does not make their statements correct.
Do you feel like people are unjustly placing labels upon you?
You are not what people call you, nor are you what they say you are. You are unique, you are special. Every human being is a separate living creature and not all of us are alike.
What is wrong with you? There is nothing wrong with you that imposed labels will help with.
You are not fat, skinny, smart, dumb, nor are you any of the other thousands of labels that people place on each other. Only you can define yourself, others only place labels upon people so they can put them in a fictitious group. It is much easier to have contempt for a group, then it is to single out an individual.
An individual you are, it matters not what others say about you.
Labels can damage a persons self esteem.
Do you label people?
When you see a person do you think of them by the color of their skin?
Do you label them as over or underweight?
Do you like to have others label you?
Labels can be very hurtful or they can be very complimentary. Either way it seems that many people place labels on individuals to divide themselves from other human beings.
There are a couple of reasons why people would want to separate themselves from others. One reason is to give themselves a feeling of belonging. For this reason people will label others as being similar to themselves. Another reason people place labels on others is to bolster their own sense of individuality. They do it to make them feel better about themselves.
The truth is that you are special, not for the group that you may belong to. You are special because of your uniqueness, your individuality, and the gifts that you bring to society.
Labels divide people, pitting one group against another. It is a futile exercise which not only demeans the one being labelled but also the one who is casting the labels. Labels separate ourselves, not only from each other but from the world as a whole.
"That person is not like us!", a very common label, compels the person doing the label from feeling any empathy for others. It allows a person to separate others and single them out for ridicule. Negative labels not only affects the labelled person it affects society all together.
The next time you are placing a label on another, think, why are you doing this? People are constantly labeled for very slight differences, it really is a silly action. Differences in religious beliefs, skin color, political views, even sexuality, are some of the most common labels placed on others. This is not a way to live your individual life.
Does it make a person feel good about themselves to demean others? Is it because the other person is not like them? Knowing how devastating it can be to an individual, why do we continue in this manner?
History has shown in repeated examples that using labels has led to horrible atrocities. Slavery was caused by labeling others as inferior to the group. Human trafficking, even genocide has started by the simple action of labeling others.
Labels on children.
What happens once we start placing labels on other people?
It is not uncommon for people to naturally label others, in fact it is a normal occurrence for us to decide if a stranger is one of us or not.
Does it really do any harm?
Children are the most vulnerable to labels placed on them early in their life. Whether it comes from their friends, their teachers, or their families, children are easily influenced by the labels placed upon them. Some children are designated as being the bully in the class, even positive labels alter a child's perception of themselves. If they are labelled as a good dancer or a good reader, this all will affect what the child grows up believing.
Do you remember the child that was called the class clown? The child most likely to succeed? These labels may appear to be harmless, where is the line drawn? What happens when it comes down to labels such as, " Timmy is the black kid", "Jane is the fat girl!"
The origins of racism began with labels!
Let us take the example of the class bully. At what point does the child associate that label with their identity? What happens when the child believes that they are in fact the class bully? What occurs when people give up trying to help the "class bully"?
Labels are extremely dangerous, as the labels stop people from thinking of the other person in any way except by the label that was placed on them. Not only does their minds close but their perceptions of others remains consistent with the labels.
This can severely harm the child's self-esteem!
Labels and life!
Once an individual believes that the labels that are attributed to them are real, they think of themselves as those labels. This inhibits their chances at growth and improvement.
If a person is labeled as "bad at math" the individual may believe that for the rest of their lives. This inhibits the chance that they are going to attempt to improve their math skills.
When a person comes to believe the labels that are place on others, they do not see anything else about the person aside from those imposed labels. No matter what else is true about the person, people will only see them by their labeled status.
Each individual has characteristics that can be both positive and negative traits. Once society sees the individual only by the negative labels placed on them, it becomes difficult for the labeled individual to change themselves.
People will rebel against these imposed labels. They will not want to show their emotions, they will hide their anger, they will hide their emotions. Even though the labels will hurt their feelings, many people will play upon these labels as a form of revenge! Often they will disappear in to their own private little world, usually pushing other people away. They will come to accept that they are inferior in their own minds. It will appear as if they are truly societal outcasts.
Once entrenched in their isolation, they become anti-social and will try to find avenues of escape. Many times this isolation takes the form of substance abuse!
Perhaps we can all come to the conclusion that labeling others is a negative action that can hurt a person for life. Just maybe we can all come to accept others as the individuals that they are! Each individual is unique! Each individual is special in their own way. One day maybe we can all keep labels where they belong, on our groceries!
What is a label?
A label is a set opinion of an individual or a group of individuals. This label exists in the imagination of the person that is judging others. These self imagined labels are usually placed upon people for the pettiest reasons. Depending on a persons actions or the way they are perceived, people will place individuals in a non-existent group.
Although labels can be both positive or negative. Either way it will alter an individuals perception of themselves.
Labels work to divide a society, pitting one group against another. Eliminating the individual is a betrayal to every person. The best way to maintain a civilized society is to treat each human being as a separate entity. Judging others by their apparel, their eating habits, or for any other reason is counter productive to the concept of equality.
Grouping human beings for the sole purpose of separating them from the rest is a cruel action. The same people that place the labels are the first to cry foul when it happens to them.
Because you believe it, it does not make it true!
Just because you see a person who appears to be sad, does not make them depressed. It is possible that the person is having a bad day, Once labeled as depressed, this individual may alter their own perception of themselves and may very well fall in to the depression that others have labeled them.
Not every person that plays sports is a jock. Nor is every person who wears black clothing a Goth. Taking the time to get to know the individual is a much better habit then judging them in your imagination.
The Blacks, the Hispanics, the whites, the gays, all labels used to place an individual in a group. Thereby making it much easier to hate the group which will also include the individual.
There are not many people that enjoy being labeled. In fact most people would deny the labels. No one wants to have others judge them without knowing them, it is a bane to the individual to have to deny their labels. The labels are fictitious, they only exist in the mind.
Society will move a step forward when it can move beyond the actions of stereotyping others. The individual is the most powerful entity in existence. Labels work to undermine the individual at the cost of society as a whole.
I hope this article has left you with something to ponder upon. You are each an individual, you are a valuable asset to society. Do not allow others to alter your perception of yourself. You are important! Realize this and defend it every chance you get!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Reality Bytes