What’s in a Label?

Look around ya’ll, labels are everywhere. Whether it’s a logo, a trademarked named, we can’t escape them. Others create their own with their label making machines and stick them on every flat surface. At the most basic level, labels provide information to others, sometimes this could be subjective, or rather factual.


A label for a can of soup, is rather factual. A label on a box that states “small toys” could be open to interpretation. Similarly a label such as “disruptive,” “crazy,” or “alcoholic,” can be accurate, but can also be limiting. Is someone always and forever going to be “disruptive,” “crazy,” or an “alcoholic” or is this limited to a specific time and place?


Doctors use diagnoses, to convey to other professionals what is currently going on. I currently have a diagnosis of “dislocation closed, finger,” does this convey the nature of what happened, which finger was injured, or when this occurred? No! It’s a quick label (perhaps informative, perhaps not), but it is an official diagnosis. Does this change how I view my injury? When I share this diagnosis with my friends, will they really know how bad my injury was? Does this diagnosis change my outlook for the future?


Similarly, a mental health diagnosis of Major Depression, Schizophrenia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, etc. may be helpful to know. Although, as an individual one probably has their own unique characteristics, and perhaps symptoms that resemble more of this diagnoses or that one.  I think one’s diagnosis is good to know, but we should not give a label or diagnosis power over us- power to limit expectations, relationships, risks, dreams, happiness, success, or transform who we are.


After all, do you want to refer to yourself as an Alcoholic, Dyslexic, Manic, etc., or someone who has Alcoholism, Dyslexia, or Mania?


You are not defined or limited by a label.






*photo credit: theleadershipcoach.com

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