My take on society’s toxic labels

No one human is the same as the other. We all have different personalities, physical appearances, emotional tolerance etc. Stereotyping and labeling each other because of our individuality limits our potentials and disparages our self-concepts and social identities. You will find yourself easily giving up on dreams or goals just because of a label, thinking “I can’t do this,” or “I’m not this person.” And slowly, even if you were not what your labels say, you will begin living as your labels.

Every person has been a victim of society’s toxic labeling at some point in their lives, and though not all labels are necessarily negative, they still bring with them the same stigma and pressure. From a young age, we get classified as being smart or slow, a good student, a bad student, too shy or too loud, too somber or funny… Then as we grow older, the definitions become more convoluted. Words such as ‘weird,’ ‘nerd,’ ‘slut,’ ‘fat,’ ‘thin,’ ‘addict,’ and ‘loner’ get thrown into the mix, in addition to ones that relate to mental illnesses, one’s ethnicity, race, social-economic status or sexuality.

I myself have been a victim of these labels and it was not until a few days ago, through a conversation with my flatmate, that I truly realised how negatively they have affected me.

Just to give an example: I have always viewed myself as a socially awkward and introverted loner. That in itself already consists of 3 consecutive derogatory adjectives. And without myself being aware of it, I have also started to fit myself within the box labelled ‘socially awkward, introverted loner.’ Whenever I want to join in or strike up a conversation, a voice in my head reminds me of ‘what I am,’ thus causing me to withdraw from company and shrink back into my imaginary box. The feeling of frustration and restraint is all too familiar.

However, now that I have discovered the root of some of my problems, I am resolute that I will find a way to break through these labels and be constrained by them no more. Easier said than done, I know, but you have to agree that it is definitely worth a go, right?

I hope that after reading this blog post, you will feel encouraged to open up yourself to endless of possibilities too. You are not your label. You are you, a free human being, made in His image. Do not be a victim to your past or your faults. Face your fears and stand up for yourself. And at the end of the day, always be at peace with yourself.

-P

__________

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. {John 14:27}

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