Do Labels really Help You?

Feb, 19, 2016

When I go shopping, I look at product tags. I can read the price, the expiration date, what it is made of, where it was made. Labels don’t tell me whether I am going to like it or not, if the company has exploited its workers or not, or even anything about the existence of better products on the market. But it’s OK. I cannot spend all day long shopping!

Labels help me to make decisions based on certain parameters and, although I am aware that I am missing some things, I can move forward. Each product has a unique list of ingredients, a single price and a single expiration date. My decisions are well founded, thanks to labels.

Sometimes I label people: a profession tag, a social level tag, a way of being tag, etc. It is fine, since I can make a quick assessment and act accordingly. But, unfortunately, sometimes I get confused about a person and its label.

People are not products, with a finite number of unchanging, unique features. Each person can be fun, boring, funny, hateful, racist and friendly. It depends on the time, the situation, and also on our own point of view.

Labeling people means to stop looking at other possible definitions, other aspects of the person. Sorry, but simplicity comes at a cost. When labels prevent you from looking at people, and you only see the label, the person itself disappears. It is not a person anymore, but “a doctor”, “a stupid”, “a taxi driver” or “a friend”.

And, of course, the most dangerous labels we can use are those about ourselves: “I am a compulsive eater”, “I am a lazy person”, “I am fearless”. If we look at ourselves and only see a tag, we are missing all our facets, which doesn’t fit into the label. A tag bans us from learning new things, from doing things in a different way…

Unfortunately, reality has many faces, and no one single labels can define us. People do not fit into a label. You don’t fit into a label. And after a first impression, many others are yet to come. As your life coach at BeYou, I have seen some people who have decided to abandon a training plan, just because they thought they couldn’t; “I’m too lazy to wake up in the morning for a short run”. But some others have made a change by asking themselves “why not?” and remain sticking to their goals.

  • Which option is best for you?
  • Which labels do you use, on others and on yourself?
  • How do they help you?
  • What do they prevent you to see?
  • What different label could you use, so that they help you achieve your goals?