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Letting Go of Labels

The mind likes to categorize. Place labels. Put things into boxes and organize things so that we can better understand. We use labels so that we know how to approach and react to people and the world around us.

Have you ever listened to others' opinions or descriptions of someone you do not know, and before even meeting them, you have already developed preconceived notions and feelings towards them? It's challenging to then form new opinions or perceptions of them since you have already labeled them and placed them into a specific box. Or have you ever taken a person you have known and, based on just a few interactions or opinions, you begin to categorize them as either good, bad, annoying, ideal, or maybe even decide they're "just not for me." But the danger of using this labeling system is the narrow frame of view we begin to develop about others and the world around us. There is so much more to a person than the characteristics we observe on the surface, for we all carry a complex array of attributes, behaviors, opinions, and thoughts.

I do not believe in placing people, or anything for that matter, into boxes. It makes life too stringent, too strict, and a little too dull.

By letting go of labels, we can see the fluidity and complexity in all life's forms, whether a person, a place, or a thing.

And I don't know how best to describe this because how do you put an infinite number of descriptions on an endless number of things? How do I share with someone that the weather outside is cold but also warm in that it awakens our awareness of the heat within our bodies? And how do I describe my experience when the blowing wind freezes my face but reminds me of the changing weather it also brings? Or that the snow beneath my feet is a magical form of water that might look lifeless on the surface but brings life into spring as it melts. How do I share that you and I are incredibly complex but simultaneously so simple? We hold life, energy, love, mystery, sadness, happiness, trauma, miracles, joy, rage, lightness, and heaviness within us. How do I share that I am still the same curious little girl I was as a child, but also vastly different, expanded, enlightened, learning, growing, and constantly changing?

When you look at a stranger, instead of categorizing them by the way they dress, the way they speak, their gender, their sexual orientation, their education level, their political affiliation, their occupation, their race, the friends they keep, the family they came from, etc., look at them instead and see them for the vastness and beauty and infinite possibilities they contain.

We are all magical. And when we recognize the magic within ourselves and others, and in all of life, we can let go of labels and preconceived notions. In doing so, we can offer people the benefit of the doubt. Give them grace for their mistakes, and we can look at people with a little more love in our hearts.

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