Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re something so many times that you’ve believed you are defined by it?
Perhaps someone has told you that you’re bossy, impatient, sensitive, that you don’t think about others. Perhaps you’ve been labelled as smart, funny, but these things have become something to live up to. How has it changed the way you live your life?
The truth is that we often define ourselves through the lens of someone else. When we are asked to describe ourselves we often use adjectives we’ve heard other people say to us, because we think they know us better than we know ourselves, but is that really true?
When we use labels other people have given us, we are focusing on them so much that they become the truth, even if they’re not. It’s the law of attraction in play. We are constantly giving these thoughts attention and unintentionally they are becoming detrimental to the way we live our lives.
For me, the one label that has become toxic in my life is being called “Quiet”. It’s something that I was told throughout my whole time at school. I would go to Parents Evening and I would feel good because I was doing well in class and I was getting the right grades, but the teachers would constantly tell me that I was never putting my hand up in class. I’d heard it so many times across countless years that being “quiet” became something negative. It became a limitation. It made me feel like being a good student didn’t matter because I wasn’t very good at talking about it.
Turns out, there are so many positives to being “quiet”, but I forgot what these were because I was told so many times that it was bad. I forgot that quiet could mean reflective, observant, calm. I forgot that it could mean being conscientious, intuitive, sensible. But it can mean all of these things and so much more!
Finding our True Selves
It’s interesting because the labels that become toxic in our lives don’t often stem from a singular source, and even when we know roughly where they came from, we can’t blame those circumstances. I’m sure no one intended for the word “quiet” to completely change the way I lived most of my life, but it did, because of the way I personally experienced it, and that’s okay, but it’s about breaking the mould and fighting to regain our true values, not those other’s have given us.
When we start to believe we are the labels others have given us, that’s when we lose who we are and that’s when the label we’ve been given is then accentuated by our behaviour because we feel like that’s all that we are. Or, we go in the opposite direction and try to become someone we’re not, because we think that’s what the world demands of us. But there is no limitation to who we can become, and one label doesn’t mean you will be that kind of person forever. We must accept ourselves as we are.
What is the Solution?
I don’t think there is any simple solution to this; I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic. But I do think it starts with getting to know yourself and exploring what does make you a good person. It’s about letting other people’s thoughts of you go, because they don’t matter. You know who you are inside, and if someone doesn’t understand that, that’s not your problem, right?
So, next time you have a free moment, sit down and think about what labels have been given to you over the course of your life. They could be negative, or they could even be positive, but what negative experiences have occurred as a result of them? Has it caused you anxiety in a certain situation, or have you felt like you are defined by the negative parts of yourself?
If you’re feeling confident, share it with me in the comments below. Let anything you’ve been holding in go and encourage positive change.
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