My friend and I were discussing labels. I believe some individuals are born with natural talents. However, that does not define who they are; instead, it describes what we can do. Too often, we make a mistake taking ownership of others' words as facts.
Facts are defined as a thing that is known or proved to be true.
Nonetheless, it is easy, especially when we are young, to accept others' words as facts.
I recall an aunt saying I would never amount to anything because my room was always messy. She equated a messy room to laziness. She failed to recognize my efforts in the classroom or around the house.
These experiences at a young age informed how and when I accepted the labels others tried to place on me. However, I am still sometimes blind to the labels I put on myself.
While I know I was not a lazy child, her comments impacted how I live. My home is always tidy, and I believe a portion of that is tied to how those words made me feel.
We are all responsible for the words we use when speaking to others. I must also remind myself I am accountable for the way I interpret the words others use. Our past experiences inform our interpretation of others' intentions, which often do not align with ours.
One approach I have found helpful when I am uncertain about something someone says to me is this.
Why does it matter what they think?
When my daughter was in first grade, she came home on the bus in tears. I asked her what was wrong, and she informed me a child on the bus called her ugly. I remember asking her if I called her purple if it would make her purple. She laughed and replied, "no, mommy" I proceeded to tell her those words were no more able to make her ugly than my words were to make her purple.
We spend so much time trying to be who others want or expect us to be. But, all the while, they are also trying to please someone else. If instead, we all focused on becoming who we are meant to be, the world would then meet our authentic self.
The next time you find yourself feeling down from someone's comments or labels, ask yourself, "Why does it matter what they think?"
I would love to get your thoughts and feedback. We change from sharing, learning, and being open to hearing others' stories.