As we are born and try to make sense of the world, our brains map out our experiences. The maps are given names; some are added with values such as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
As children, especially our teenage years are spent figuring out who we are. We receive labels by others; we give ourselves labels to understand where we are in correlation to everything else. These labels have become a navigation system, one that doesn’t really do us many favors.
When I was 14 years old, my family and I moved back to Iran. Up until then, I had been told I was Iranian and since was marginalized due to my foreign exterior – values where added to the label. These labels were telling me that I was not like them and if you remember anything about the teenage years you might recall that many of us just wanted to fit in.
Personally, I felt like a misfit so when my family decided to move back a sense of hope grew. Maybe, this meant I would finally belong. Maybe, this meant that I would be among people who understood me. The joke was on me, although I looked liked them people commented that I was European. I didn’t have the same accent, I didn’t think like them, nor was my preference for many things equal to others and I found myself where I had started.
It was a few years after moved back to Sweden where I could make peace with this. By coming to understand that my ethic heritage, or places where I grew up could never define me. I wasn’t it, I knew there was so much more to me than being fit into a label.
One mark that needs to be emphasized here is that these labels come with an added value. Some are aware, but the majority isn’t even open to the connection that how a word is pronounced can hold a added value. Same goes for when people started calling me skinny, luckily I was advanced along my personal growth but the values that came the skinny calling was intriguing. People who though I “looked so amazing all of a sudden” poured their skinny equals beauty believes on my while others who were uncomfortable with my healthier shape commented that I should eat more. Had this been me a few years ago, I would not have been able to see their word for what it was. Their words, their believes, their own added values. Not mine.
Battling the outside world is one aspect, but the one that needs more attention are the label we give ourselves. Whether you’re name calling yourself, telling you’re stupid subconsciously when doing a error or telling yourself that you’re inadequate because you didn’t get that task done, again, does not make you inadequate in any way.
However what happens is that we tap into the emotion of inadequateness, we’re strengthening an emotion that we come to relate with. To relate to a feeling is one thing, to accept it as a label, or even a way of saying something can add more than you’re aware of. We need to be aware of our inner monologues to not tap into a feeling that has nothing to do with our true value. Because our true value, as humans will never be based upon any colors of our physical appearance, nor has value anything to do with your performance. Yet many of us get stuck there, feeling inadequate for some reason that if we don’t do things a certain way – we’re less than others and that comes with emotions such ad sadness, anxiety, anger or shame.
So imagine what changes we could do for ourselves if we would only be more aware of the label we tell ourselves. One aspect that is a fact, you will eventually understand how you judge, which will also help you understand that your thoughts about others have nothing to with them and everything to do with you and your perception of your universe.
One thing that is a certain, it’s a process. Allow it to be a process because we’re wired in ways that we sometimes don’t event see ourselves. Many times we think we’re free thinking humans, however, much of how the world is perceived is because someone told us at a certain point or showed us with their emotional response. Change is always a option, you just need to want it.