If I read a label on a can, it tells me what to expect to be in the can. I can’t turn a can of baked beans into a can of tuna just by getting a marker pen and changing the label. But, amazingly we can with ourselves.
We give ourselves labels. Sometimes the label reads ‘kind-hearted’, ‘entrepreneur’, ‘a sex bomb’ though sometimes they read ‘ugly’, ’loser’ or ‘failure. Sometimes it’s your significant other, family, friends or colleagues that put labels on you – but more often it is yourself.
You ‘read’ your labels and act accordingly. If you think you are hard-working, inspiring, promising, etc., you will be encouraged to achieve more since these positive words make you feel good about yourself. If you think you’re a failure this will restrict your potential by keeping you confined to the negative label.
Change the labels and you change the behaviour.
For instance, studies have shown, those who change their thinking and start to believe they are fit and healthy, are more likely to make better food choices and exercise regularly. When others see your good choices and congratulate you, the new label sticks and so does the behaviour.
We might not actually realise when we are putting labels on ourselves. Often it’s our inner dialogue that does the job. But being aware when you’re undermining yourself is a positive step in the right direction. Although we know the truths about our self, constantly highlighting weaknesses and mistakes, and calling ourselves names undermines our potential.
Before you label yourself consider the following questions:
- Is this who I want to be?
- Is this what my friends and family think of me?
- Is it a fact or just your own interpretation?
- If I look at this positive, how would I think?
- What have I achieved in the past that proves otherwise?
- What have I achieved in the past which would prove otherwise?