Ok so today we are going to talk about labels
First off, what are labels?
- a classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive
“inaccurate or restrictive”??
That’s from an online dictionary
Basically when you Google “label meaning”
Cambridge dictionary describes a label as
- a word or a phrase that is used to describe the characteristics or qualities of people, activities, or things, often in a way that is unfair
Now a label is also “unfair”???
So guess what?
A label is inaccurate, restrictive and unfair
So that’s it right?
Well that’s the problem
You see, you’ve probably gave a label to someone before
Which means it could have been inaccurate, restrictive and unfair
A parent might label their child as “naughty”
A teacher might label a student as “stupid”
A girl might think a stranger looks “like a criminal”
A guy might think the neighbour is “noisy”
The list goes on
And you know what’s worse than labelling your friend, family, child, colleague, staff etc something that is inaccurate, restrictive and unfair?
You might label yourself in an inaccurate, restrictive and unfair manner
I’m not joking
Isn’t putting yourself down much worse than labelling others?
And it gets worse!
Let me share an experiment
So I don’t know when but some psychologists gave an assessment to a class of say 40 students
And they got the top 5 and bottom 5 students
What happened is that they told the teacher the top 5 are the bottom 5 and the bottom 5 are the top 5
Essentially, they swap the results
So a year later, they did an assessment for the students and found that the original top 5, told to the teacher as the bottom 5, are now in the bottom 5 and vice versa
So what happened?
The teachers might have have had a label of the top 5 and bottom 5 students
When the top 5 (told to her as bottom 5) want to ask a question, the teacher might have felt irritated cause she might have labelled the bottom 5 as stupid, naughty or even troublemakers
And when the bottom 5 (told to her as top 5) want to ask a question, the teacher might have shown more attention or give praise cause she might have labelled the top 5 as smart, curious or even proactive
Of course, I’m adding my possible opinions for the study and what might have happened
And it’s true isn’t it?
When you think a particular friend is being all whiny, you start to treat him or her differently
You rather get away from this person, or even throw a temper at him or her
Similarly, if you label someone as good and kind, she or he will get your best treatment and you might even grow from affectionate
So how now brown cow?
What can we do as individuals?
Can we completely stop negative labelling?
Or remove labelling totally??
Unfortunately, probably not
But we can make a step towards positive change
And it starts with you
By having a more understanding way of interacting with people
And accepting yourself as who you are and making tiny changes
For example, yea you might get first impressions from others but remember that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and then have a chat with an open mind
When you see a child screaming and yelling in a public place, don’t label the child as naughty (truthfully, the parents might not have been giving the right attention of “praise” and thus the child seeks the wrong attention of “scold”)
Especially your own kids!!
Don’t think they have your genes and therefore must be good in math!
With this, I hope you gain more awareness of yourself too
How you label yourself, you portray that to others
If you think you are worthless, you will show yourself to be such, and people will see that
Kinda like a self fulfilling prophesy but that’s a topic for another day
I’m not telling you to lie to yourself!
If you are really committing a mistake, take steps to change it
And become a better person one step at a time 🙂