Never ignore your instincts. Never ignore your voice… the one that’s…inside.
Be open-minded and consider others’ ideas, but never push aside what you know to be true for you. NEVER let someone bully you with accusing comments because you didn’t agree with them or you didn’t conform to their expectations.
What’s this about?
Self-love. Confidence. Self-reliance. Learning. Truth.
Other people look at us and see something. They have a perspective of who we are. They may have some insights based on our actions or from the personal thoughts we’ve shared with them.
They are not us, however. They will never “get” us. Even when we think they do.
For so many years of my life, I let others’ opinions and thoughts of me influence my choices and even my own thinking about myself. It took me long into my adulthood before I realized I was doing this.
I stopped letting others’ opinions influence my thinking and started to listen to myself.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes people in our lives have interesting perspectives, and we can learn from them.
A recent conversation was not one of those times.
Here’s my issue. Two of them, actually.
- When someone labels me (“You’re ______. You always ______”). Sound familiar?
- When someone blames me for turning a “conversation” into something “dramatic”, when I am just speaking my mind. Seriously?
Let’s start with my first issue.
Issue #1: Bye-bye Labels
When others label me as being one way or being another in a negative way, it’s frankly just disappointing, especially when the person thinks they’re helping.
When people negatively label me…I turn off now. I tune out. I cannot hear them. I don’t internalize their bullshit. Fortunately, I don’t get labeled often because I don’t have many people in my life who label others.
Even if someone has my best interests at heart, and the person really wants to help me, it doesn’t matter. No one wants to be labeled negatively. Never mind the fact that getting such “help” won’t help at all.
Recently, I had a conversation with someone close to me. I was seeking support to help me figure some things out. Instead of listening to me and helping me work it out, I was “told” what my problem was. Even worse, I got, “You’re always ___________.” and “You always ___________.”
Labels. Usually negative. Not helpful.
I HATE being labeled.
You’re always late. You never listen. You’re so lazy. You’re always disorganized.
There may be aspects of labels that are true, but using them can be hurtful, ineffective and disrespectful. Especially with children because they are likely to take those labels and believe them to be true about themselves.
The American Psychological Association says labeling is “…describing an individual in terms of particular behavioral characteristics [which] may have a significant effect on his or her behavior, as a form of self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Holly Combs takes her experiences of being labeled and turns it into something beautiful. Check out her TEDx Talk that gives us a glimpse of the damage of labels.
Even if you’re trying to help someone, skip the labels. Find another way to communicate your ideas. Check out this young man’s perspective, which includes “young” and “old” as labels.
Issue #2: Blame Game
Back to my recent conversation.
Aside from being labeled, I didn’t feel heard at all. At one point I was shocked and frankly, disappointed, in a belief this person shared with me. I won’t get into it all, but I became upset. The conversation kept looping over and over, ultimately getting us nowhere.
Then came the blame.
This person blamed me for taking a “conversation” and blowing it out of proportion and turning it into this BIG thing. Apparently, I was being “dramatic”.
That really PISSED me OFF!
God forbid I express my feelings and thoughts. How dare I disagree with something and express emotions about it.
For sure, I was in a defensive mode and I should have ended the conversation earlier. Even so, when someone says you are being dramatic, it seems like deflecting instead of dealing with the issue. It also just fuels a person’s fire and does nothing to reach any type of understanding.
I won’t allow someone to label me and blame me and think it’s ok to do so. I won’t listen to someone who throws my feelings back in my face and then blames me for speaking my mind when I don’t agree.
Ok. So, now where does that leave me?
Although I didn’t get the support I needed, and although I still have to work through my earlier problem, I did learn something in the end. Actually, four things.
Take Away #1
I realized that others don’t always understand us, even when we are close with them and we think they really do. This conversation reminded me how much I DO understand myself, how much confidence I have in myself, and ultimately, how much I love myself.
Take Away #2
In the past, I might have been influenced by labels. I may have internalized them and let them become something I believed about myself. When I reflected on the conversation, I was reassured that I know myself well. I am not how others label me. I know my truth.
Take Away #3
The conversation confirmed how important it is to speak my mind, even when it might not be comfortable. When I say “speak my mind” I don’t mean yelling and swearing. I mean saying what I think. It’s important to be true to yourself. I can’t control how others react, but I can be sure to not squash my thoughts for fear of upsetting someone else.
Take Away #4
In the end, I didn’t get the support I needed. I’ll have to figure out my problem on my own. Even though it can be helpful to bounce our thoughts off someone else, we need to make our own decisions. I was reminded that I can’t always depend on others to help me. I need to rely on myself. Self-reliance makes us stronger.
Ok. So, in the end, the conversation that upset me, pissed me off and did not help me with my problem, DID give me some insight into myself and my beliefs.
Even when things don’t work out the way we want, we’re always learning if we take time to reflect.
The conversation confirmed that I know and love myself. It reminded me to continue to speak my mind and to stand up for me. It showed me that when it comes to figuring out the twists and turns in my life, it’s ultimately up to me.
I reconnected with who I really am. I reconnected with my truth.
Wishing you health and success on your journey,