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  • Writer's pictureNarelle

Labels are useful - Just not for Living!

The trouble with our beliefs is that we believe them.
The trouble with labels is that we live by them.

Can I ask you a difficult question? Will you stop for a moment and think about it?

What is a label you have accepted about yourself?

Tricky question but really stop for a moment and think - What is a label you have given yourself or received that you really believe in? It could be something from your childhood or from school, or from one teacher in school. It could be from your work life, your partner. It could be that you are smart, selfish, pretty, average looking, overweight, athletic, loud, bad at maths, terrible at organising yourself…and the list goes on.

Labels seem so innocuous. I mean we label things all the time - my pen, my laptop, the crazy driver who cut in front of me, the grumpy attendant at the petrol station. We like to categorise things. We like order. It makes life seem straightforward. We know who to go to for what, we know how to behave in certain situations and what is expected of us.

As a society we hand out labels easily and readily - like politicians handing out other peoples money.

But labelling is not always good especially when it comes to humans. They can negatively affect our self esteem. They can hold us back. They shape our expectations of ourselves and others. Because when we define ourselves with labels our behaviours lead to the creating of those labels - like a self fulfilling prophecy.

If you think you are lazy then why would you work toward goals - you are lazy, you won’t get them done anyway. If you think you are bad with money well that is why you spend money on online purchases and things you don’t need because you can’t save because you are bad with money.

The same goes with labelling illness. Yes it is helpful when it comes to treatment and support but it can also restrict you and summarise all off who you are into one aspect of your life. We are not just one thing - we are not just our symptoms. We are not our illness.

Even when we put labels on other people we will look out for what we expect not what we see.

Labels limit your potential. They tell you that you are different. They decrease your motivation for movement and change. The decrease your acceptance of self and all the wondrous shades you are.

Labels hold us back. By becoming limiting beliefs they keep us stuck. Limiting beliefs are a belief or decision we make about ourselves and/or our model of the world that limits the way we live. It is an unconscious bias that we unknowingly live by. We continually set limits, time frames and boundaries on what we can and can’t do - without really thinking if the consequences or limitations are true.

And just like labels, what we believe will shape our responses to the world around us and our opportunities. This could be things as simple as “I’m not good enough to do that”, “I’m too old for that”, “I don’t have enough time”, “It runs in our family”.

We trust these beliefs and labels to be true. And if we really really believe that we cannot do something because of a label, then we will consciously or unconsciously find a way to prevent change from happening. Because then the results are consistent with your beliefs.

“I can’t lose weight and I have tried everything”.

“I am terrible with money and I never will have enough”.

“I am this illness or disease”.

“If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”

― W. I. Thomas

You can ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your beliefs promote Hope or Hopelessness, worth or worthlessness, significance or insignificance?

  • Is this label or belief serving you or holding you back?

  • Do you want to be this label? Is it true? Was it ever true?

  • What label do you want to be?

Understand you are a plethora of colours and shades and moments. You are not one thing. You move, your morph, you adapt. And what you believe will shape your response to the world around you and your opportunities.

In reality none of us know what we can or can’t do until we try, try again and keep trying.

If you feel there is a limiting belief or label that is holding you back and sabotaging you in life. If you keep repeating the same thing over and over again. If you feel stuck then consider NLP to help change exisiting beliefs into new desired ones.

And remember, the trouble with our beliefs is that we believe them.

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