Labels, the invisible sticker placed on someone to push them into that “you-are-like-this” box. We all know them, the labels or stereotypes that should define us ‘unintentionally’. Or intentionally if you place them upon yourself. But of course, the opposite is true. Labels do not define us. They don’t define who you really are. They are just random words. Words who became more vivid because of the many different meanings that are placed upon them. Labels exist in many categories, such as origin, skin color, clothing choice, lifestyle, gender, beliefs…But how are labels now created? And are they always bad? Why do we even label ourselves? And what is the actual purpose of this?
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Where Do Labels (Stereotypes) Come From?
Labels are mainly arisen out of the human urge to better understand ourselves. People will always look for their place in this world, a group where they feel good, a lifestyle that suits them. Throughout this search of ‘the self,’ we start to define ourselves more and more by comparing ourselves to those who we look up to, with those who look like us or that what we feel like we deserve. We start to compare our looks, choices, passions, beliefs,… We search for that specific group that gets us, who understand us. And when one eventually starts to label himself as one specific image, than other images start to appear as well. This is no hard science to understand. This is how many different labels started to emerge. Because one can recognize a lot in others as much as one can find differences in others. Some will connect on a deeper level than others. This way we want to differentiate ourselves from the big crowd. We want to place a uniqueness upon ourselves and ‘our group of people’ because this makes it easier to find our spot in this world.
The Nature Of People To Simplify
People are naturally inclined to simplify. Thinking in black and white. This makes it easier for our mind to estimate certain situations and people. It also makes it easier to decide faster and to avoid as many risks or possible danger. It’s like protection against that what we don’t understand, that what is unknown. And by labeling people often tend to copy other people’s behavior. People from that same ‘box’. Because that is who we are so that is how we should behave right? WRONG, in so many ways. Because no matter how strong the resemblance can be, we are all a world of differences. Everyone is unique in every aspect of their being. Labeling is like a flight of being alone, of being not understood. While everyone is perfectly capable of living their own truth while being surrounded by amazing like-minded souls. It’s all about trusting your own capacities and loving yourself unconditionally.
What Is The Downside Of This?
Our uniqueness is being replaced by stereotype. What once should made us ‘unique’ from the big crowd turned into the opposite. That what we didn’t want at all. We started to compare ourselves in how we WANT to be, how we SHOULD think or how we SHOULD act in order to fit in. Losing our own uniqueness because of endless comparing. All to fit into that box that we see as ‘perfect’. Or that box that others see as perfect for us. And this ultimately leads us to the second big downside. The emergence of negative labels. That what we see as wrong and unusual. Another very common word used for this is negative prejudices. We often tend to see all that is different from us as bad or wrong. Think about racism, fighting for sport club preferences, discriminating pronunciations about men or women, hurtful swear words about looks,… In this case, labels are no longer placed upon someone for their uniqueness, it’s placed on them as a threat or insult.
Are You Responsible For Confirmation Of The Stereotype That Is Placed Upon You?
Yes and NO. An absolute NO, when it comes to what you can’t control in life. You can’t change your roots, natural looks, family,… and you shouldn’t feel any shame for that also. Everyone is beautiful and amazing just the way he or she arose into this world. In this case, you are not responsible for the labels others place upon you. For a matter of fact, negative labels, in this case, are a sign of immaturity, insecurity, and irresponsibility. It says more about the person who spoke those words instead of you. But in some cases, you CAN be the creator of your own stereotype. Or at least, you can be the confirmer after it is already spoken. What I’m talking about here is, self-fulfilling prophecy. It often occurs that someone unconsciously behaves towards the stereotype that is assigned to him/her
I’m going to give you an example: A girl is told that she should not follow a mathematical direction because men are better at mathematics than women. When this is often repeated and the girl feels pressured by it, there is a bigger chance that she will fail in mathematics. Definitely, if she starts to believe that what has been told to her. The high pressure of getting good results, the insecurity and the doubt can create a situation where she unconsciously starts to lower her own standards. And a possible thought of ‘Maybe it’s true?’ can eventually influence her motivation and focus and therefore also her end results. This can create a sort of unreal and false confirmation of that label being true. But obviously, this all depends on how you choose to respond to the labels that are placed upon you. Do you choose to believe them? Or do you choose to believe in yourself?
Let a label be a temporary clarity for yourself, a foothold to better understand yourself but do not cling to it, you are not a word, you are just you. Unique and changeable.
Do not blindly focus on the negative labels that are thrown at you. This says more about the person who said them than it does about yourself. It is their perception that they made about you compared to themselves and their past experiences. Something which often comes out of uncertainty, fear or bad experiences that make them uncomfortable in their own being. Something that can be triggered by you but should never be seen as your responsibility. Because how people respond to life or people is all within their own control. They are responsible for how they approach life and how they choose to react to it. Not you.
Have you often received a label?
Or would you label yourself as a certain type?
I am certainly curious about your vision and your experience!
Let me know in the comments!
Love & Joy