A label: a description of contents attached to an item that tries to identify it, according to Merriam Webster. These labels are present on food items, where calories, fats, sugars, et cetera, of that food are found. These labels describe the good in simple terms and are definitive, usually not changing with time.
Why then is society stuck in a time of labeling people, as though they are nothing more than an food item found on a grocery shelf?
Labels can be useful in the sense that they help people discover their characteristics. In a world with billions of people, it is a life goal for each to individualize themselves and to understand who they are.
However, when these characteristics, which are turned into labels and become stereotypes, begin to completely define who one is as a person, they become destructive to one’s sense of self.
No one is ever one word. Each individual develops, grows and changes with time.
I let one word define me my whole high school career: introvert. I thought by knowing who I was as a person, an introvert, I could understand my flaws and inabilities better. Labeling myself as one, I finally understood why I felt socially awkward in social environments and why I feared public speaking.
I let this label control me, distancing myself from doing things that were “un-introvert-like,” like leading a group at school or meeting new people.
However, as I began life at Pepperdine, I realized I had been looking at my label in the wrong way. Instead of understanding myself by knowing that I was an introvert, I let this characteristic limit me. I deprived myself of an understanding for my unique qualities and took this label for granted, assuming it was all I’d ever be.
Everyone is more than what they perceive their labels to be. Sure, labels can be the start to grasping who one is, but never are they the full description of who someone is or will become.
Each person should find their labels and then forget about them because one word will never adequately define their uniqueness.
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