As humans, our instincts have allowed us to immediately associate a sense of fear with the things we don’t know every little detail about. That scary illness that doesn't have a name yet, race, how people act, and certain disabilities all have the cringing potential of being labeled. Whatever is different from us we like to label so it makes us feel better and feel like we are in more control. Labeling is part of our innate facial recognition skills that have kept us alive before we had become industrialized. It is in our nature to compartmentalize things in order for them to become more clear to us, so thus, we become more involved.
But why is our society so obsessed with labels? Is it because it still allows us to be in control of the unknown? Or because we need an answer to every little thing even if it doesn’t affect us? All I know is that society needs to get over its harmful obsession with labeling, and here are a few ways that have helped me in doing so.
Stop being so judgmental.
Being judgmental only leads to unhappiness for both parties. Stop judging that one couple in high school who never had a label because they were comfortable with what they were. Ultimately, it is up to them to figure out what feels comfortable, and who’s place is it to say that it should be otherwise?
Train your mind.
If you catch yourself labeling someone or something, stop yourself. Classically condition yourself to stop labeling groups of people, certain relationships, illnesses, or whatever is present in your life at this moment. It is not healthy, and ultimately strays away from the amount of potential that label-less conditions have to offer.
Do your research.
Oftentimes labeling leads to stereotyping. What you think initially about someone becomes how you think about them from there on out, and it is important to stop yourself from putting people in tiny boxes and assuming they have no potential to be anything otherwise. There is already enough hatred, stereotyping, and labeling in this world. So do your research on different types of people and really make it a point to confine them. People are constantly changing, and so should our progressive patterns of thinking.
Labeling comes from within, and has nothing to do with the other people involved. What you think about the people and objects you're labeling is none of their business, but has everything to do with you and not with them. So please, stop confining yourself and others into a box just for the sole purpose of having control over how you are perceived by the outside world.