To That Someone Who Needs To Hear, You Do Not Need A Label
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To Anyone Who Needs To Hear This, You Do Not Need A Label To Belong

Your labels and choice to identify with labels is yours and no one else's.

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To Anyone Who Needs To Hear This, You Do Not Need A Label To Belong
Pexels

People have a desire to belong.

The instinct to compartmentalize is so human that you might find yourself unknowingly boxing people into categories just to make better sense of things.

The need to find one's own community can drive us to find commonalities that are completely useful and, at times, life-saving. Labels give us comfort with ourselves and help us to not feel alone.

The idea that other people exist — people that think and feel and live just like you — is incredibly reassuring. Therefore, sometimes finding that identity or subculture can be incredibly beneficial.

However, those same helpful labels can at times create a great sense of pressure to conform to a group's ideal of what that label or community means. You can be "too" something at the same time you're "not enough" of something else.

Outcasts can be created if people are singled out for whatever they may identify with or present themselves as. This happens for all kinds of identities: race, sexuality, gender, ability, etc.

In the past couple years, people have found it to be more and more important to find their own community for safety and protection. That makes sense as so far as finding people who will understand your story until this moment. However, that doesn't mean that we are committed or singularly defined by the few aspects of our lives that are the most popularly discussed right now.

Not personally subscribing to a certain label yourself is a complete valid possibility. There are certain situations where the addition of a label makes you feel good, such as celebrations within your community. But, sometimes, it's easier or safer to be without labels. And, sometimes, you don't want to be put in a box by yourself or the people around you, no matter how well-meaning. It's all up to you and no one else. No one else can decide who you are or parts of your identity.

Now, as a society, we probably aren't getting rid of labels altogether anytime soon. And, that won't necessarily be helpful or effective in creating less prejudice or closed-mindedness as people will make those mental categories regardless of the official labels. And, like I mentioned before, there are times when we can revel in our identities and feel pride in communities that will appreciate us.

However, it is important to remember that you are not beholden to anyone and do not owe someone parts of your identity. You may always be "too much" or "too little" in someone's eyes. But, you don't have to "come out" as anything or for any reason, even if you're in a safe space to do so. Your labels and self-presentation are yours and no one can create or alter your identity other than yourself.

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