“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”
– Danielle LaPorte
A label is a classifying phrase or name applied to a person, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive.
Most labels are negative. Words like “fat”, “retard”, “weird”, “emo”, “white”, “stupid”, “fake”, “geek” and many more are often thrown around with little consideration of the hurt that comes with them. Being called a name by other people makes you believe that’s who you are. Your thoughts, actions and behaviour all change in accordance to your new so called revelation of yourself. Your self-esteem drops and your self-confidence as well.
I’ve been called “nerd” a lot. Labelled as the class topper, the teacher’s pet, that girl with the glasses. I was put into a box, and I accepted it. I didn’t realize it then but it affected me. I worked even harder to get good grades but I didn’t know that I wasn’t doing it for myself, but to redeem my so given title and to live up to everyone’s expectations.
Until I realized, it’s about me. I need to worry about what I think of myself, not anyone else. You’re going to be free when you don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to the people who care about you. Constructive criticism is essential. Arrogance, not so much.
Don’t listen to all that negativity since you know it isn’t true. There are always going be people who want to drag you down by engaging in verbal warfare, even when you think you’ve reached the top. Whether you let them knock you down or not, that’s your choice. Pro tip: Don’t. You can’t stop negative labels, but you can choose to not let them hold you back.
I learned that being labelled as a nerd had confined me to just one aspect of my personality. Who said that you’re just a “nerd” or a “jock”? Exhibiting characteristics other than that isn’t a crime! A label shouldn’t restrict you. I am so much more and so are you.
If you’re confused and you’re thinking, “I don’t fit in, I don’t know where I belong, what I am, who I am.” You don’t have to be. Like the characters in The Breakfast Club, (10/10, recommend it) you need to realize that you are much more than your given stereotypes. We’re all a complex whole of different idiosyncrasies, feelings and thoughts. You don’t have to confine yourself to be defined by just a few aspects of your personality. That’s just a tiny bit of who you are.
I think that our insecurities arise from our fear from being vulnerable. But vulnerability is what makes us human. Check out this TED Talk about the power of vulnerability.
We’re all still discovering ourselves. Talents, potential, abilities, skills and traits that you never knew you had all can be found if you look within.
So, the next time you think of an insulting comment about a person’s insecurities remember that you aren’t perfect either. Labels are best used on commodities, not people.
Don’t label and be labelled. You’re so much more than you could ever imagine.
Have you ever been labelled? Tell me your story in the comments below.