Do you ever feel like you are being weighed down by other people’s opinions? Do you ever get the urge to shout, STOP LABELLING ME!? I can’t abide labels and boxes which constrain me, especially those given out by people that know me. Even those that don’t know me have at times tried to make me fit their pre-determined criteria of how I should behave think and even feel.
I am waking up to the fact that I am not happy to continue living my life by other people’s standards, carrying around a weight of guilt for things I have done or should have done or things that I am not doing well enough.
For years I have been more than happy to live up to many of my labels, even using some of them to make excuses. Having children of my own has flicked on a switch in my mind and I’ve come to the realization that I am not going to do this anymore. Deciding that I’m not going to wear people’s labels makes it very difficult to accept society’s view of which box my kids should fall into. And even harder to fight off my own conditioned responses of what I think is suitable for boys and girls.
I find it really hard to understand why people want only to think of each other in one context? Making a split second judgement based on a minimum of information doesn’t make sense. We know first impressions are important but why do some people never look past that fleeting first moment to discover more? Instead firmly making their judgement and possibly even casting you aside because of the label you have been assigned?
Now don’t get me wrong I wish I was the kind of person who never used labels but of course I am not. My goal is to make a change in my own small way and hope that I can affect a positive change for my girls. And so I am making an effort to move away from constant judgement; giving each person the time to make their own impression. I am out to find open conversations, a common ground and if I cannot do this, to withhold my opinion. I’m making a move towards active thinking and listening, knowing that this person is more than what I see. The old saying ‘there is more to someone than meets the eye’ is my new mantra.
Thinking about how labels have made me feel, only strengthens my desire for change. I need to teach my girls that they are more than what others see them as. And above all, they will know that their opinions matter – even if they are not popular opinions.
My gratitude in discovering the #TEAMTALL community is immense. Finding a place of understanding and support has not always been an option for me. Imagine the difference we can make to our world now that these cross generational opportunities are available. It’s time for us to break some boxes and throw our old ways aside. The phrase ‘you can be anything you choose to be’ has never been more relevant and more powerful.
Together, let’s continue to look for common ground instead of focusing on things which may divide us. Listen to the arguments with respect even if they are not shared opinions. Look for reasoned debate amongs friends. Let’s try to stay away from the label machine and opt to make a move towards acceptance and encouragement.
Knowing I have your support makes me feel stronger and it makes me stand taller so thank you.