You’re Unattractive, Bad at Sports and Lazy. What Labels are You Tagging Yourself With?
I was describing the process of blogging and social media to my mother and she said to me, “Well, I’m glad you have worked all that out because you used to be terrible with computers.”
It got me thinking.
How many tags I attach to myself based on incorrect labels that others have given me.
I was never bad at computers. My father was an IT enthusiast, right back to the 70s. We always had the latest technology in our home growing up and sure, maybe I wasn’t as into it as my father was, but I always knew my way around a PC. I wasn’t writing code at seven years old, but I was adequate, efficient even, with the basics.
Somehow along the line my mother obviously decided that I wasn’t good at computers and luckily for me, I never really knew that she felt this way, until now that is. And it still hurt to hear. My mother thinks I’m lousy at something. Rather than challenge her attitude, I simply accept it.
My mother says I am bad at “computers” so I must be bad at computers. Having just written that sentence I have just realised that she has no idea what she’s even talking about. To her the box in the corner of the study is a computer and whatever activity is done on that box is “computing” whether it’s blogging, drawing, writing, filing, loading programs or social media.
Yes, I know it’s a little funny.
But there were many labels that my mother and father attached to me which I really believed at the time. Alyce is messy. Alyce is bad at sports. Alyce is not as thin as she could be. Alyce doesn’t study. Alyce is not a good singer.
As I have aged I have come to realise that I am good at some of the things I was labelled as bad at.
Mother – I AM good at sport.
Mother – I AM good at study.
Mother – I AM a healthy weight.
Poor old Mum. Of course it’s not all her fault.
Since leaving home more than 15 years ago I have simply let others attach labels to me instead. Now I let my partner label me “violent” or “crazy” when I know I am neither of these things.
I let my old boss label me as a person with “bad attention to detail” even though I know that it’s something I can change, or work on. It is not a life sentence.
I carry these ineffective labels with me every day –
and the bag is getting heavy.
Marilia Priyanka Fernandes from The Navhind Times in India wrote a great article about this. “A person is much more than just a single quality or trait. And when we focus on only one characteristic we forget all the others. This may make it simpler while interacting or thinking, but it also puts you in a mental box, which is hard to break.”
She mentions that labels are in fact just a way to simplify things and make them easier to relate to, but that this is an inefficient way of going about your life.
The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Once you label me, you negate me” and Martina Navratilova said, “Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.”
I found another great article from Charlene Johnson about labels. “An individual who self-identifies as, insecure, inexperienced, fat, inadequate, the child of an alcoholic, a loner or shy reveals continued negative self-perception. We are all more than that which we’ve overcome!”
She mentions that labels lead to insecurity. And she is correct. “One of the most unappealing qualities is insecurity. Insecurity and fear transfer to the people around you in the form of nervous energy. It’s human nature to retreat away from nervous, unbalanced, insecure energy. So avoid wearing your own insecurity it on your chest like a scarlet letter. Don’t give space in your mind or relationships to unproductive and sabotaging thoughts.”
I am sick of these labels that others ascribe to me. I am giving up labels for lent.