I’ve been thinking about labels a lot the past couple days. Labels can be positive or negative. We label the world for young children to help them identify their surroundings. We give them words to describe objects and colors and people. Labels help us categorize our world and sort things out: clean or dirty; open or closed; red or blue.
Labels allow us to identify and group illnesses or discoveries or communities. They’re necessary. They’re helpful. Sometimes.
But, labels can be negative or hurtful, too. Someone is called stupid or fat or lazy. A town is called a dump. A person is called by their illness or challenge instead of by their given name.
I think we all need to consider the labels we put on our world, especially those we put on each other. Whether out loud or within our minds – labels matter. The labels we give to our surroundings change how we interact with them. We behave much differently in a neighborhood we label as “safe” than we would in a neighborhood we’d label as “dangerous.” These labels can be helpful in our interactions if they are accurately based on facts. But when labels are based on preconceived notions or unfair and skewed perceptions, our actions may be wrong.
I received a package today with a label on it. I like what it said.
I’m going to try to create a new habit – one where I picture every person and animal wearing this label. I want to put it on everyone I encounter. I want to put it on our earth.
Next time you see someone….handle with love!
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