Blog 56. SEX AND ADDICTIONS: Are You Fully Aware Of The Consequences Of Using Labels To Describe Yourself?
These days it seems that it’s become rather fashionable in certain circles to be labeled, even with a psychological disorder.
I wonder though, whether people are fully aware of the consequences of labeling either themselves or allowing others to give them these labels?
When we tell people our names we usually start with, ‘I am’ + your name.
I AM – are the two most powerful words in the dictionary. What you put after them shapes your reality:
1) Whatever words you use after the ‘I am’ implies a description and it tells people more about who you are.
2) What you say about yourself implies that it’s what you believe about yourself and it’s what you’re about.
3) Descriptions do not imply change. They are usually rigid, steadfast and unyielding.
4) Once you use a label you are also telling people they have to look no further.
So be careful when you use labels. Make sure that they’re indeed accurate assessments of whom you really are and possibly of what you do.
Certain labels or descriptions are very important. We all need them, but you need to be aware that some labels can have the opposite effect.
Make sure that whatever label you use can’t be used against you.
If anyone were looking for an excuse to put you in a ‘box’, then you would’ve walked straight into their trap. People can be lazy. They like labels because that makes their life easy. They don’t have to think any further.
Make sure though, that you’re not doing the same to yourself – that you’re not just being lazy and accepting these labels because it’s easy to do so.
Labels are like bandages. They cover the problem or the issues but they don’t always explain the root cause and why they were created in the first place.
And if you accept a label be careful. If for whatever reason you lack for example self-worth and so on, then the label might only act as a reinforcing tool.
The minute you accept a label, be careful. You could be buying into a description that portrays you as a victim.
As I stated earlier, labels or descriptions do not imply change. They are often rigid, steadfast and unyielding. And often they can stick around for a very long time.
Sometimes labels suggest that there is something wrong with you and it gives the person labeled an excuse not to look any deeper – only to just accept the label as fact.
A label can even become an excuse to behave in certain ways – without having to question the behaviour any further.
Also, once you get labeled by say doctors or psychiatrists, this gives them and the pharmaceutical companies a further chance to rake up their profits, as you walk away with tons of medication and more doctors appointments under your arm.
Then a few years back I found this excellent article which collaborates with what I have so often observed:
It is by David Whyte and in his article called ‘Denial’ he sums up the process of therapy and the process of healing superbly well: ‘’When in a process of healing we often pass through a stage in which we need to claim and own our past experience in order to engage consciously with it, accept its presence in our life and then, with healing intent, begin to work through the constrictions it has placed around and within us.
This stage can be absolutely vital to our future healing and wholeness, especially when working through issues that have caused us deep shame and humiliation.
We must fully acknowledge the past in order to focus our energies upon healing in the present and creating a more positive and life-affirming future.
But it is equally vital that we know when this stage has passed: when we can let go of identities rooted in past trauma and pain, in order to shift from surviving to thriving and from healing into wholeness.
Whilst the majority of us would claim to want freedom from suffering and liberation from painful conditions in our lives, our behaviour often gives the opposite impression!
Despite our protestations to the contrary we may actually be very comfortable in our little world of victimhood or self-denigration, in which other people or past events are blamed for our pain or we live marinating in guilt and self-loathing, seeing ourselves as forever struggling against conditions that we can neither influence nor eradicate.
In a strange kind of way our wound gives our life meaning.
We identify with it so completely that it becomes the core of who we are, defining our world, dictating our life path and casting its shadow upon every possibility of change.
It becomes our reason for being who we are, and who we are is someone with a wound, always trying to heal but never quite getting there…’’
Indeed, and this is why whenever some of my clients felt they needed a label to explain their problems this usually brought an end to (my) the therapy process as any further work would prove futile.
I therefore urge you to please think before you accept a label.
Dig and find out more about yourself. Knowledge is power. Sure, it may take a huge amount of courage to dig into your past. But the relief afterwards can be enormous and it could so help you make better relationship and life choices. And it will do you no harm. The opposite can leave you emotionally stuck for years.
And besides, people are far too complicated for labels.
If you are able to get help soon enough, things can get sorted. Just leaving things and hoping they will resolve themselves might never happen. We all need to take responsibility for our own lives. Leaving things unresolved, means that feelings and emotions can become reinforced and the problem will loom larger.
This is when things can get very scary and this is when many put their heads in the sand.
In extreme cases, if you leave things too late, the doctors or psychiatrists may have to step in, medications given and when you look again a person can soon be seen walking down the road as a complete zombie.
I have seen this happen too many times. So please get help before it’s too late and please beware of those damn labels.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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