Are You Attached To Putting A Label On Your Identity?

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By Likita Gowda

As social beings, the way we identify ourselves is through labels. All kinds of them. Be it with respect to what you do for work, your relationships, your personality, sun sign, nationality, emotions… and the list just goes on. I for one have always had a problem with it. Call it an intuitive feeling or anything really, I have always felt like putting myself in a box always limited me. It has always made me feel a tad bit suffocated, a sort of feeling like - ‘but I’m more than that’ or ‘I can’t be just that’. This has impacted me so much that I do not even have a bio in my social media profiles. Because how and why should I let a bunch of labels and words define me? They honestly can’t. 

Whether you’d like to accept it or not, no label or box can fully define you or make you fit in it forever. The very essence of life is constant change. We change, our bodies change, our beliefs change and life just flows through time. So how can one be defined by labels? And yet anytime we meet someone or interact with people - who we are often stems from the labels we carry. ‘Hi I am doctor’ or ‘Hey, I am a mom of two’, or ‘I am an anxious introvert’, ‘I am a CEO’, etc. But what if those labels are stripped off from you? Who are you then? 

The thing that makes labels worse is that more often than not, we forget our essential selves, our true selves & instead we let our egos rule our lives. It is very easy for the ego to get attached to all these identities. Be it good or bad. If it’s good then the ego gives control of your happiness & peace to a mere label. If the label is taken away from you, you end up feeling lost and empty. If the ego attaches to a bad label, it makes you feel guilty for having it, it makes you feel shameful for being given that label. Do you get the drift of the emotional toll the ego can put you through with all these boxes that you are trying to fit into? The way out of this is to go inwards. Detaching from the ego and detaching from the labels can help us know who we really are. And the path to know one’s true self will be different for different people. 

Another problem that I have with labels is that if those labels are given to us by others and if they are negative, it can really break us. Someone labelling you stupid or calling you a loser can be detrimental to your self worth. It’s easy to attach to labels and definitions, be it good or bad. So, the next time you label yourself or if someone else labels you something, ask yourself this - does it really matter? Does it really define me?

Attaching to mere roles that we carry out in our lives is pointless. At least I have always felt so. I am sure there are people who have achieved the best roles society can offer and they’d still be miserable if they are attached to it. They would either fear losing it or would be suffering to keep it up if their whole identity is defined by it or worse they would be eyeing for a label that's bigger and better & the vicious cycle may never stop. Besides, roles always change - you aren’t what you were ten years ago and you certainly will be different ten years from now. So why break your head about being attached to a certain identity? Think about it - are you who you are because of your career, your relationship status, the car you own or the accomplishments you’ve achieved? It’s worth your time to ponder over it. You are worthy with or without those labels. Your mere existence is worthy, you do not have to try and fit into various boxes or collect labels to make you feel worthy. Always remember that. 

Everytime my ego has tried to either put me down or made me feel like I am better than everyone else because of mere labels, I have started asking myself - does this label define me? Do these 20 labels define me? No. Even a hundred labels put together will not define my true essence. Neither will it define yours. 

You and I are so much more. And that doesn’t have to be defined.





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