LU Blog 4

Assigning labels to others can quickly become an ingrained habit that we don’t even realize we’re doing. “She’s bossy.”  “He’s an opinionated loud mouth.” “That group is just crazy.” We often assign labels without knowing any of the reasons behind others’ behaviors or actions.

And some of us quietly accept the labels others stick on us.  We give up on an exciting challenge when someone tells us, “You’re too old to do that.”  We pass on an opportunity when we’re told, “You’re not smart enough to take on that new job.” Although saddest of all to me on this subject are the labels we inflict upon ourselves. Studies have shown that for a lot of people, our self-talk is primarily negative. Why if someone else talked to us in the denigrating way we talk to ourselves, we’d want to punch them!

It’s a struggle for many of us to think positive, empowering thoughts about ourselves, but we can choose to do just that and end up living a much happier life. At a class I teach, one of the introspective questions I ask the adult students is this: Imagine that many years from now you have died and you’re able to listen in to what is being said about you at your funeral.  What do you hope people are saying?  Some of the responses given have been:

  • He was a good husband, a good father, and a friend to many.
  • She had the best sense of humor; she always made me laugh.
  • He helped anyone that needed a hand; his kindness was overwhelming.
  • She was the best listener; she would listen intently without interrupting.
  • She had the most amazing talent for seeing the best in people.
  • He really enjoyed meeting new people and finding out what made them tick.

I encourage you to try that exercise.  Don’t rush. Think it over. What do you hope people say about you at your funeral? Because if we can imagine what good aspects others see in us, how empowering it is to think those same good thoughts about ourselves. And I do believe that leads us to think better of others.

So who are you?  Really.  The world is waiting to find out.

To my readers:  What negative label will you peel off, and what positive aspect will you replace it with?