Labels— whether they are place upon us by society or self-inflicted, can be very harmful.
Society is crafty– It's a huge label making machine. We get a sticker slapped on us like a glass jar of dry beans or a box of markers. It has labeled me as a woman, sister, daughter, wife, friend, student, author, library technician, runner, mentor, volunteer, health advocate, health coach, Christian, Liberal, entrepreneur, pet owner, child abuse survivor, addict, analytical, introvert, etc.
Clearly, some labels are nicer and more forgiving than others. And whether we care to realize it or not, labels create our identity. They shape our destiny. They limit what we allow ourselves to become.
We all have weaknesses and strengths, but they should not define who we are as a person and what we are capable of in the future.
For instance, a few years back, I frequented Overeaters Anonymous meetings because I felt a strong obsession with food after I lost over 150 pounds. Going to the meetings only made the obsessive tendencies worse. Why? Not only was the focus on staying away from certain foods but it was also centered of admitting that you are a food addict, sugar addict, or binge eater. Calling myself a sugar addict was essentially saying "This is who I am". That was my identity. In truth, that wasn't who I was. I was just a normal woman with a weakness for certain foods (like sugar).
Instead of calling myself an addict, I started recognizing my weaknesses and sensitivities so that I would know what to look out for and stir clear of as much as possible. This line of thinking gave me my power back. It wasn't damaging to my self-esteem. It didn't limit what I could do in my life.
Knowing our weaknesses is better than letting them define us without our permission. Illness, disease, disability, weakness is NOT WHO YOU ARE!
Think about this the next time someone refers to you as something that doesn't make you feel good about yourself. You don't have to accept everything that you're told you are.
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