A young person in my life recently labeled himself ‘stressed’ he claimed the reason for ‘all’ his life circumstances was because of this ‘label’ he had self imposed.
It made me wonder how often is it that we put a label to something (say a set of circumstances) and once we have labeled it – it becomes real and the context of how we live life.
My colleague Kristie was just telling me that she used to think she was NOT a morning person – and now she has discovered that some of her most creative time is at 6.30am. She lamented that ‘the label’ she had given herself she consistently lived into it – her actions (and neuro pathways) confirming that the label was true.
We can gather evidence to support almost any ‘label’ that we choose for ourselves. The challenge is to know the power of conscious thought and to understand that labels limit us.
I’m not saying that this young man is not currently challenged – but life is challenging. Some see this as an opportunity to focus and persist, while others see it as an excuse to give up.
I know that personally when I feel under the pump – with too many things on the go at one time – it galvanizes me to action. Stress calls me to action.
In fact, the more I have to do the more efficient I am (There is the old adage that if you want something done give it to a busy person). However at some point instead of stress being motivational it turns into distress – a sensation where it is difficult to function, cope or get anything done. There is a balance between stress and distress. Stress in not necessarily a bad word. (It get’s thrown around a lot in western culture.)
The labels that we put on ourselves can be completely debilitating. (And we believe them to be the truth. The voice in our head tells us loudly over and over again!)
Amanda Gore – of The Joy Project shares vividly with her audiences about the fears that stop us – each of these ‘fears’ are based on our view of the world – ie a label.
To give up our FEARS – and the little voice in our heads which tells us to ‘slow down and be careful’.
Five Famous Fears:
Humiliation – which is the fear of what other people think, the irony is that people are too busy thinking about themselves to worry about thinking about you.
Separation – Being different, separated from those that are important to us, being disconnected.
Poverty – The ‘I haven’t got enough’ concept… yet money does not bring security
Unknown – The fear of new things – or lacking of faith, hope and trust
Missing out – The fear of keeping up with the ‘Joneses’ – continually making comparisons (if you win the rat race you are still a rat)
Here is the challenge: can you give up the labels, and as a result get out of your own way.
Often we create the fears ourselves – it is difficult to eradicate them – but at least identifying where they stop you will help.
What labels do you give yourself?
The first thing to reduce fear is to discover which fear drives you (or all of them) – discovering what the fear is – where the need for that fear has come from – and then to create the appropriate behaviors to compensate for that fear.
Fear is one of those subjects we avoid. Yet your experience of life will alter if you can stop calling yourself names (that is putting labels on circumstances.)
Use stress to drive your effectiveness, call on support from other people if it turns to distress. Be alert in your life’s circumstances – rather than alarmed.
Positive words (and labels) will deliver to you a positive outcome.
Give it a try – let me know how you go.
Photo: Amanda Gore and I wearing ‘rose coloured glasses’ – labels give you context for how you view circumstances – positive labels will change your view of the world.