Are You More Important Than Your Label
Like it or not, we are all tagged with a number of labels, from work to our personal lives. Too many times, our work labels take emphasis over our personal lives and “define” us to the world—to the point of the world needing a more impressive label of the actual work we’re doing.
Industrial Engineer – janitor
Literary Construction Specialist – writer
Literary De-Construction Specialist – editor
Outer automotive detail specialist – car washer
Organizational Hub Specialist – clerk
Gateway Manager – doorman
Personal Transportation Agent – bellboy
Keeper of our Future – teacher
Intermediary Sustenance Controller – waiter/waitress
Nature Management Specialist – landscaper
And just for fun:
Castle Guardian – husband
Castle Overseer – wife
Are you more than your title? Does your title define who/what you are?
Love it or hate it, we are a culture of labels. We judge people by labels. We try to fit people into conceivable label-clad boxes to somehow organize our own lives. Labels are a way for us to make sense of the world around us. Labels are a way for us to attempt to protect ourselves and a way we identify our own sense of self.
Labels That Matter
We identify ourselves with labels such as parent, husband, wife, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, uncle, aunt, cousin, and the list goes on.
Though these tags may initially apply to us, it is still up to us to further define ourselves. It is also up to us to get beyond these simple labels and delve into the relationship opportunities they create.
Your Top Label and Definition
I’m a father. I’m also a husband. To me, these two labels go hand in hand. Which label is more important? If I had to choose one, which would it be?
I choose both. Why? Because I’m the one writing this article and you can’t stop me (defiant grin).
That father tag tells you that I have a child or children. But, it doesn’t tell you what type of a father I am, how I care for my children, the type of parenting I ascribe to, or if I take care of the financial and emotional needs of my children.
In the same way, the ‘husband’ tag tells you that I’m married. It doesn’t tell you the type of husband I am to my wife. It’s a basic label and comes with a range of successes and failures.
The world will label, then sub-label, then sub-sub-label, and so forth. The people closest to you worry less about pin-holing you with an accurate label. They are more concerned about you. More concerned about you in relation to them. In the case of my wife, more concerned about me in relation to us and our kids. In the case of my kids, more concerned about us and my relationship with their mother.
In personal relationships, the labels are stripped and the person comes through. The character reigns over the generalized label.
Labels and Relationships
You can tell the closeness of a relationship by thinking of the person and seeing if any quick labels come to mind.
Quick Test: Think of the people you plan to come in contact with today. Do you picture them or a label? Does a label come to mind when thinking about the person?
If labels do come to mind in the previous activity, then maybe that person’s relationship status is shaky in your personal life. If that person belongs in your inner-circle, then you may need to work on that relationship and dissolving the labels hanging over them.
Also published on Medium.