We have to be so careful when we label people, or indeed when we take to heart the label we have been given by others.
We are all different things to different people. I'm a mother, a friend, a colleague, a therapist, a supervisor, a daughter, a cousin, an ex-wife, a niece, a girlfriend, an aunt, a sister....and on and on!
In amongst all of those I will appear to be, happy, direct, grumpy, intolerant, unreasonable, spontaneous, loving, distant, gentle, annoyed, generous, worried, supportive, and more.
The truth is we can be a vast range of things to others; and yet we are none of them.
The label given to describe one person couldn't be further away from the label someone else may use. A label is a very personal perception.
When walking by a homeless girl I tried to imagine who she was. She was always so grateful when I gave her some money, or bought the magazine she was selling. Someones daughter, someones friend. Once she had shelter and yet now she stood with steam seeping from her nostrils, bent over in an attempt to maintain some body heat.
I never want to remember her as "just another homeless person" that label comes no where near to describe who she was, or how she came to be cold and alone.
If I label a homeless person upsetting to see, doesn't that just help to keep me a safe distance from their suffering? I could blame them for not making me feel good, seeing them as responsible for making me uncomfortable. They doesn't own that label - I do.
For this homeless girl to see me walking upright, wrapped up in clean warm clothing, carrying my shopping -might that not be upsetting for her? Isn't it likely that she feels uncomfortable being in this situation, heart sinking as she witnesses people averting their eyes as they try to ignore her plight?
She won't always have had the label of being a homeless person - she has a heart and a soul - and a history that only she knows. The girl I'm speaking of has since died of pneumonia.
Don't be too swift to live by the labels you've been given, nor be too swift to label others.
As you go to bed tonight notice who you are - how does that feel? What label might those people you interacted with today be giving you? Will their assessment be fair?
Would it feel different to expose more of who you really are? What does your headmind say to you that stops you? Practise showing the core essence of you, shed those protective layers and let the world appreciate the real you.
"Once you label me, you negate me." - Soren Kierkegaard