LABELS DON’T WORK

Human beings have the basic tendency to judge others. It could be anything ranging from introvert, reserved, extrovert, friendly, warm, stubborn, crazy, sensitive etc. Labeling or branding is only an extreme form of judging somebody. What we need to realize is that people have phases in life. When we brand or label a person in a certain way, that person tends to become more of the label. If a 5-yr old starts throwing tantrums to get a toy, world labels the child as stubborn. The child might not know the what stubborn means and what the right behavior is, but he understands that people expect him to throw tantrums and only when he does that, his needs will be met, thus he becomes even more stubborn. This is vicious circle, which can be broken only if we stop labeling others.

I was always labeled as a studious and sincere book worm. It was true to some extent. I had very few friends. I was one of the toppers, used to study late nights. I liked reading books and writing diary.

I wasn’t all that studious and book worm. I was fun when I was with my friends. I used to dance, sing and play. But since I was more sincere about my studies than most of my peers, I was labeled as studious. And once I got this label, I too believed that I am too studious. I started believing that a person like me is not really outdoors and playful. Slowly and gradually I started keeping to myself. Writing my diary, reading books, painting were my only hobbies. Dancing and sports was going out of the picture.

What I felt about being labeled like that is very confusing to me till date. I liked being called studious, because that meant that my parents and my teachers are proud of me. But I also did not like it because it made me an outcast in my own friend circle and the group of my cousins. My peers would look at me like somebody different, someone who is too serious and sincere. My sisters believed that I won’t keep their secrets from elders, since I was so very sincere. There were times when I went out of the way and became complete rebel just to prove that I am not all that sincere and that I am one of them. And when my peers saw me as a rebel, they again rejected me because it did not suit the label that I had. My parents saw that I have changed and they too disapproved of the change, they obviously loved the label that I had.

Labels make a huge difference to children. Their innocent minds believe what the world believes about them. They take energy and inspiration from what world judges them as. That makes it extremely important to make sure that we don’t label our children. If we see them being labeled as something negative, then we should put in some extra effort to make the child not believe that label. It is important to them to understand that there is difference between the way the world perceives them and the way they perceive themselves.