Labels are all-encompassing. We use them to describe and identify both ourselves and others. Labels are even applied by people who don’t know each other. However, it’s often the labels we give ourselves or the ones applied by those closest to us that have the biggest impact. Some labels are hurtful and may seem inescapable. Labels can be helpful in helping to provide a basic understanding of roles or identities. One problem with labels, however, is that we can sometimes fail to see beyond them. Continue reading for a more in-depth look at labels and why it’s important to remember that you’re so much more than what they convey.

What’s in a Label?

We’re given labels in various aspects of our lives. You probably use one to define your career or job title. Maybe you’re a parent and go by “mom” or “dad.” There are labels to define race and ethnicity. Ones that point to certain characteristics are common. You’ve been using labels practically since you were born. Some of these may make you feel good. Others are hurtful. Many labels are assigned to us by others. Some we take on ourselves.

Labels Can Be Limiting

Labels don’t define who you are as a person, though. They don’t tell who you are or who you desire to be. Using and accepting labels can be limiting. Perhaps you were told as a young child that you were lazy. You could go through your own life limiting your potential because you’ve become convinced you don’t have the ambition to go after your dreams. Even positive or neutral labels can place limits on you. For instance, many mothers feel that the label of “mom” means they have to leave a part of themselves behind and focus solely on meeting the needs of their children. This causes them to abandon their own interests and lose a large part of their identities.

How to Move Beyond the Labels

It’s important to remember that you can move beyond these labels. That’s where self love comes in. When you see yourself as valuable and worthwhile, you’ll feel more confident in defining your own labels. Breaking through labels requires self-awareness, acceptance and belief in your abilities. You can create your own new identity separate from any of the labels you’ve been given. You simply need to decide what it is you want to be known for and start living with this image in mind. Don’t hesitate to correct anyone who mislabels you in a way that makes you feel negatively or uncomfortable.

Labels are a part of life, but they don’t define who you are inside. Break out of the box and claim your own identity. Creating your own labels will lead to increased self love and confidence.

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