Labels negate people. I’ve had more than a few labels thrown my way. Some good. Some not-so-much. Fast, fat, smart, unorganized, funny, failure, kind, arrogant – to name a few. There is some truth in all those, but labels are destructive and unhelpful. Here are three reasons not to attach labels to others.
- Labeling hurts relationships.
Labeling another person is a sure and definite way to damage any current or future relationship with the person you labeled. Words wound. Label a loved one as lazy or stupid or a liar and trust and intimacy will be lost. Use your words to encourage and build, not to dissect or destroy. See the potential and the best in others.
- Labeling hurts the labeler.
One of the reasons people give labels to others is because of their own lack of emotional health. Healthy people inspire, equip, and collaborate. Unhealthy people tear-down and label. Labeling is a self-destructive behavior. Bringing others down will not build the labeler up. New heights in life will only be achieved when we help others pursue their dreams and reach their capabilities.
- The labeler limits God by narrowly defining one of God’s masterpieces.
Attaching labels to others slights God. All of us are God’s creation. His masterpieces. We are created in His image. We are loving and loved. Forgiven and compassionate. Blessed and a blessing. Labeling is telling others a lie that is contrary to God’s truth.
So stop labeling others. It hurts them and it hurts you.
Stop accepting labels too. The world is happy to pass them out. You get to decide if they stick or not. Here are two reasons to not accept labels from others.
- The labels aren’t necessarily accurate.
Nobody knows your entire story. They don’t know about your childhood. They don’t know what your morning was like. They don’t know your fears or your dreams. Most labels people attempt to give you are inaccurate. So don’t accept the labels. Kindly say they are unwanted. Let the label-giver know you are God’s child, that you are content with who you are and who you are not, and that you are going to choose growth over negativity.
- The labels aren’t complete.
No label can ever fully define a complex, unique person. No label can come close. So stop letting it. So you failed a few times. You aren’t a failure. You are human. You took a risk or made a mistake. Failure is not a complete description of you. You are so much more than that. A single event or a series of events doesn’t define us. Other people don’t define us. God defines us. Live under His definition. We are wonderfully made. We are accepted. We are free.
Labels are for jars, not people. Stop giving them and stop accepting them.