Why do we love labels so much? Does it give us comfort to “belong” to a group? Does it help us define ourselves… maybe to ourself and to others? Do we hold the group’s label as something better, higher, more right?
I suppose the answer isn’t as important as understanding that labels constrict us. I’m not happy with constriction. For example, I eat a diet that is mostly vegetarian and often vegan. But I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan because sometimes my body craves meat. I use care when I eat meat that it was raised in a wholesome and happy way but I do eat meat sometimes. So I’m not a vegetarian, I simply try to eat what is healthy and what I think my body needs at the time.
If I claimed the label vegetarian, then in those times when I felt I needed a steak, would I hide from the public? Would I feel concerned that someone would think I’m a failure as a vegetarian?
Where else in life can labels rule?
Religion comes to mind for me. I used to wear the religious label of Christian. However, many Christians were very judgmental of others who were different. Some Christian churches took actions that made me feel ashamed of that label. I let that label go. I did not let go of my spiritual life. It has grown and spread so much more now that I’m label-less in the realm of spirituality..
I’m not suggesting you do the same as I in casting aside your labels. But I do suggest you evaluate your labels. Understand why they are important to you. Evaluate whether the label is helping you or limiting you. Do you feel like a failure when you step outside the bounds of your label? Is that shame of not conforming worth wearing the label?
Realize that sometimes humans are just unique, jumbles of change and growth. Exploring areas outside our labels, having new experiences based on our intuition can be very fun. Our bodies, minds and spirits can need different “food” from day to day. Trust your inner wisdom and follow the path that seems best for you each day.
Thanks to Maynooth University for this great logo they used in their 2015 disAbility Awareness week.