Are you hiding behind your labels?
From the time we can crawl, we’re conditioned to live in a way that is deemed acceptable by everyone around us.
For some of us, the decision to crawl was the last real decision that we made all on our own – with no input from anyone else. Nobody tells us we should crawl – we simply make a decision to try it out. But then we’re congratulated and everyone around us is super happy with our achievement.
Next, we hit the “terrible two’s”, where we start to explore our boundaries. This is where we’re taught – through social conditioning – what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not. From this point forward we are conditioned to rely on everything external to ourselves to find the answers.
With this comes a set of rules that we’re given about almost every aspect of our lives. For most of us, these rules govern the way we live, and we obey them in an auto-pilot kind of way … very rarely being conscious of what we are doing or why we are doing it.
The rules come laden with the ‘stuff’ carried by the people who have given the rules to us, and when we’re not aware of the stuff – or the rules, for that matter – it means that we create ‘labels’ for ourselves that we hide behind so that we don’t have to challenge ourselves in ways that challenge the rules.
Labels can come in all sorts of different formats. They might be physical injuries, or physical conditions. They might be religious in nature. They might be in relation to your friends or family. They might be qualifications or educationally based labels. They could be related to clothing standards, where you live, the type of car you drive, the type of restaurants you can eat at, or even the type of groceries you buy.
Labels can be very invasive and we can be completely unaware of the way they are interacting in our lives. For example, I made a decision to try some yoga classes. Somewhere along the way I had created a label for myself that the only yoga classes that were worthwhile were those run by a pure yoga studio … and therefore, that the yoga classes offered by my local gym were of a low standard.
Then I had a day where the timings at the yoga studio didn’t work for me and I had to go to the class at the gym in order to fit a yoga session in. I was astonished to discover that the class at the gym was better than the class at the yoga studio. In fact, the variety of teachers at the gym was much more varied and I could experience a range of different types of yoga and teachings if I attended the yoga at the gym. So … I stepped away from that label and opened up a whole new growth area for myself.
Another example of a label I discovered was based around the injuries I have. I have permanent injuries to both of my ankles, I have had double knee surgery, I experience sciatica and I have a healed- separated fracture in my back. My social conditioning and ‘label set’ told me that, as a consequence, there would be a load of things that I could no longer do – and for a time I found myself sitting around at home lamenting all of those things I could no longer do.
The second I stepped out from behind that label, I found myself hiking in amazing scenery in different places around the world. Sure, my body’s recovery process from doing these things is quite different than it was before these injuries, but I am determined that they aren’t going to stop me from doing and seeing the things that I really want to see and do.
I’m also not reliant on prescription or pharmaceutical drugs to be able to do them … because I stepped away from that label too.
You can find labels enmeshed in all areas of your life. The biggest challenge from a label comes from stopping long enough to identify that one exists. If you do identify a label in your life, then here are three things that might help you to step out from behind it and move forward without it:
- Research – start researching what else is happening in the area you’ve identified. For example, if it’s an injury, what are other people around the world doing in similar fields? If it’s a condition, what have other people found in natural environments or sources that can help you?
- Question – start asking yourself questions around the area you’ve identified. Your answers will always be within you; your intuition will tell you whether or not you’re on the right track and whether the information you have is relevant to you or whether there are other things you need to find or try.
- Explore – remember that we are all unique individuals and there is often no one solution that works for everyone. Start to explore and try different things and make a note of the ones that work for you. Put together your own solution for what works for you and your body.
‘You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.’ (anonymous)
You choose – are you happy hiding behind your labels, or is it time to do something differently? Eradicating your labels is no more difficult than learning to ask yourself a few questions that help you to see things a little bit differently.
Want more info on how to identify and then eradicate your labels? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.
Want to chat? Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!
Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
This article was first published on www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 20/06/2017