This one is going to challenge some of you. Some of you will might not even go past the first few paragraphs, let alone to the end of this post. Some of you will get to the end of the post and dismiss what I’ve just said as bollocks, but I’d love it if those of you could entertain the notion I’m about to put to you for just a moment.
The labels we put on ourselves (or allow others to put on us) are unhelpful. They give us something to hide behind, an excuse for certain behaviour and a reason not to change. We cling to our labels for dear life so that we do not have to take responsibility.
That label really could be anything. I am anything-oholic, anything-phobic, a sufferer of anything-itus. You probably know the labels I mean. It’s the ones that you are currently thinking “yeah, but I am that, it’s not just a label.”
Some conventional methods of working with these things, especially addictions, suggest that you should claim your label, say the word, get the medication. Now, I’m the first to say I’m not an expert in the field and a lot of these methods have had lots of success but I don’t understand why we would want to take these labels on as part of our identity.
Being an addict, a depressive, a sufferer of anxiety is not something you ARE. It’s something you DO. It’s a behaviour that is such a well formed habit that you run the program automatically. I’m not suggesting that it is something you have full control over at this point, but I am suggesting that acknowledging it’s a behaviour, not part of your make up, opens up the possibility that you could choose a different way.
The way I see it you have a choice to make here. You can choose to believe that either you were born like this, that there is nothing you can do about it, you are innately broken. Or you can choose to believe that you have been wheeling out a set response to certain stimuli (most likely something internal, like a thought or feeling) and you can choose to do something differently.
I can’t prove either way which is true, but I know which belief makes me feel more empowered to take control of my own life.
All that said I can see why people, myself included, are reluctant to peel off the labels. Although some come off easier than others. Once the label is off the jar you can see everything that is inside. There is nowhere to hide, you are laid bare for all to see and that seems bloody scary. The only thing I can say to encourage you to power through is that those who are likely to judge you for this cannot see past their own labels anyway, and those who have cleared their own labels are likely to only want to cheer you on.
Have a review for yourself, maybe there are some labels you can peel off easily right now. Maybe some of them will need something stronger to come off – check out my services page, there might be just the right thing there to help.