Imagine living life without labels. How would you recognize the policeman or fireman? Who is the doctor or teacher? And what about the other important labels like mother/father, sister/brother, parent/child? Labeling is an important function in that it sets our places in the world and establishes how we each contribute to the global community.
But there are other labels which reinforce negative thoughts. Being labeled fat, slow, dumb, unworthy are horrible things that unfortunately begin early in life. Kids learn from adults and do not have a social filter, so labels are tossed around or applied to peers with frightful honesty. Malicious intent is sometimes part of the equation but usually the negative labels simply pop out.
Hear and see negative labels enough and you may begin to apply those labels to yourself. It is tough to bear. When things don't go your way it is easy to sink into acceptance of the labels. You know no other way. Maybe you are doomed to be fat because you are. You are fated to be slow or incapable because you lack the confidence to prove otherwise.
Labels can be self-fulfilling prophesies. Hear it enough, whether the statements are internal or external in origin, and eventually the label becomes fact. You are slow because you don't try to go faster. You are fat because you don't try to get fitter. You are incapable because you don't explore for hidden talents or unknown aptitudes. The weight of negative labels can seem crushing. Even if you have positive people in your corner it can still be difficult to see opportunity for self-improvement.
This was my life. I never measured up. I was always near the back of the line. In fact negative self-talk still dominates in certain areas of my life. Every morning presents a new challenge to either be what I have been or become what I should be. Will I escape impending doom or be crushed by the pressure?
Let me share with you a little secret. From the moment each of us is born we are dying. While our cells are dividing and we are growing and developing and learning we are all doomed to the same fate. Morbid I know. The amazing thing about that fact is that it has the potential to free the mind from fear. Be cautious, yes. Be concerned, yes. But be bold. Be strong. Find your focus and make the effort. Give honest effort in a goal you find worthwhile.
Find a new label you want to wear. This label could be something you once wore but no longer applies. It could be a completely new label. The point is to find something to pull yourself out of self-doubt and negative thoughts. Find a label that pushes you to be something you currently are not. Something stronger. Something better. Something "more". Be the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is why I proudly wear the label of "runner".