Redefining Yourself: Embracing Your Authentic Labels
I’ve never been a fan of labels. I guess this comes from the fact that like most people, I experienced bullying whereby other people repeatedly labelled me with horrid names that for many years I believed were true. I have since learned that we can choose and create our own labels, on our own terms, and that they can also create clarity and context for our brains and be used consciously to empower us.
Let me give you an example:
In a recent conversation, I encountered someone who expressed a desire not to be defined solely as a wife or mother. This sentiment resonated deeply with me, and I responded with a simple yet profound statement: “Well, don’t then.” She looked visibly shocked.
I reminded her that “the truth is, you are the one who defines yourself, and if others attempt to label you, that’s entirely their prerogative. What truly matters is how you see yourself and the labels you choose to embrace.”
Your Identity, Your Choice
Our identities are multi-faceted and dynamic. While roles like “wife” and “mother” may be significant parts of our lives, they don’t define our entire being. On the other hand, in my keynote I speak about my experience of being morbidly obese, losing weight and dealing with body dysmorphia, and reading a quote that said ‘You are not fat. You have fat, but you also have fingernails and you are not fingernails…..’ This quote was a game changer for me and made me realise how deeply we allow self limiting labels to embed themselves in our psyche.
We have the power to shape our self-concept and remove or embrace the labels that resonate with us.
Courageous communication begins when we realise that we are the authors of our life’s narrative. It’s the moment of clarity when we recognise that we’ve been telling ourselves the same story repeatedly. If that story doesn’t align with who we truly are or who we aspire to be, it’s time for a change.
The Power of Labelling
One effective way to redefine yourself and align with your authentic identity is by consciously choosing the labels that empower you. Here’s a simple exercise to help you get started:
Redefining Your Labels
Step 1: Reflect on Who You Are
Take some time for introspection. Sit down with a pen and paper or your preferred note-taking device and answer these questions honestly:
1. What labels have you allowed others to assign to you?
– This could include societal roles, job titles, or even limiting beliefs.
2. How do these labels make you feel?
– Note your emotional reactions to each label.
3. Which labels resonate with your true self?
– Identify labels that align with your values, passions, and aspirations.
Step 2: Choose Your Empowering Labels
Now, it’s time to consciously select the labels that empower and reflect the authentic you. Write down labels that truly resonate with your identity, values, and goals. Consider the following categories:
1. Professional Labels
– Job titles, career goals, or roles that inspire you.
2. Personal Labels
– Labels that describe your personality, character traits, or hobbies.
3. Aspirational Labels
– Labels that reflect the person you’re striving to become.
Step 3: Embrace Your New Labels
Once you’ve compiled your list of empowering labels, take a moment to celebrate your newfound clarity and identity. These labels are a reflection of your true self, your strengths, and your potential. Write them on post it notes and leave them around the house or use them on a vision board. The more you see them, the more you will feel them.
Remember, labels don’t have to be restrictive; they can also be empowering signposts on your journey of self-discovery and personal growth. You have the power to define who you are and who you want to become.
The Narrative of Empowerment
Finally: You are the author of your life story, and you have the agency to choose the labels that resonate with your authentic self. Don’t let external expectations or societal norms define you. Embrace the labels that empower you and align with your true identity.
Courageous communication begins with the conversation you have with yourself. Take control of the narrative, and watch as you evolve into the person you aspire to be—one empowering label at a time.