Have you ever had a moment where you wanted to change in some way, but you didn’t because it seemed too crazy, too out of the box, too “not you”?
The labels we give ourselves are really powerful.
They can define us – and this can be empowering or stifling depending on where the label came from (our higher self or our comfort zone). If your higher self created the label, then you know it’s something great that you either currently embody or you can strive for. If you create labels for yourself from a point of low self esteem, comfort, or because you think you should – then they can hinder your growth and box you in to a life of comfort and stagnation.
I recently took a look at what labels I give myself – both professionally and personally.
I have been designing, writing, and making journals for over six years. Our business completely supports us, and I am comfortable calling myself an entrepreneur, a designer, and a creative spirit. But for some reason I had some blocks with calling myself a writer and an artist. For me, these words were powerful and I had to step back and think if I could truly embody these labels.
It’s so funny to realize this – the power of words is so strong!
I AM a writer and I AM an artist.
I can choose to create these labels for myself and fully embrace them.
Look at your own life.
What labels do you use to define yourself?
What labels do others use to define you?
Take some time today to write down these labels.
You could write: mother, friend, good cook, likes Chinese food, sensitive, artist, computer savvy, deep thinker, seeker, spiritual, nag, dependent, emotional, etc.
Write down every word you can think of that you would use to describe yourself.
Next, take a look and see if it truly describes the person that you want to be – your best self. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Think about where each label came from. Is it something that you created for yourself or something that someone gave you that never seemed to fit (or no longer fits)?
Are there any labels you would like to add? Anything that you would like use to define yourself?
Here is an example of how powerful it can be when someone else labels us:
Let’s say you have always wanted to sing, but in junior high your choir teacher said that while you had a nice voice, you really weren’t able to project it. So you probably would never be a professional singer. So the label you put on yourself was that you had a soft voice and probably shouldn’t sing in public. Years go by and the love for singing is still inside of you – you receive support from friends and family urging you to use your voice and sing out. But that darn label is still there.
But… what if you created a new label for yourself? What if you said that you were a singer? There is no judgement in this word alone. It just is. You could then embrace that label and do what singers do: sing!
You can also create labels for yourself that you grow out of.
And when that happens, it’s hard to let it go because you have become defined by this label – it is part of you.
What if you loved Chinese food. It was your favorite food ever. And then one day, it didn’t taste as good to you anymore. And you kept eating it because you had labeled yourself as someone who liked Chinese food. And you had created a life around this label – you would go eat it with friends every week, you would cook it for yourself at home. It was a comfortable identity – but it was no longer serving you because you realized that you no longer loved it like you used to.
This is a funny example, but you could take out “Chinese food” and replace it with any part of your life that no longer feels like “you.” And if you do decide to relabel yourself as someone who no longer loves Chinese food – there may be friction. Your friends will no longer get to see you weekly at the restaurant. They may feel hurt and wonder why you are choosing to not be there. They may take it personally instead of realizing that you simply don’t like the food anymore. But you know that it’s simply because you no longer like this type of food. And why would you put a label on yourself that no longer fit?
Continuing to look into the labels we create for ourselves is part of self growth.
If a label is no longer serving you – if it no longer represents who you are or who you would like to become – than replace it with one that does.
“But I always have been that.”
“But everyone expects me to be that.”
aren’t reasons to continue being someone that you no longer are.
This isn’t an easy process, but it’s so worthwhile to go through.
It’s part of becoming conscious and truly being aware of how we define ourselves.
The first step is realizing our labels.
The second step is making sure that each label fits who we are and want to become.
Living a conscious life is a lifelong practice that takes some work – but it’s so worth it!