“I hated labels anyway. People didn’t fit in slots — prostitute, housewife, saint — like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water.” – Janet Fitch
I am all for labeling food organic, labeling clothes that are on sale, and buying wine based solely on their labels, but not everything in life should come with a tag. Let’s just face it… We live in a judgmental world full of critics. We complain about being pigeon-holed and yet sometimes we don’t notice when it’s coming directly from us.
We’ve all judged someone at one point in our lives, but everything and everyone is so much more than just a simple classification.
People change. Things evolve. People grow. Life happens.
It may be natural to have an opinion, but here are 10 things you should never label:
1. Your friends
Great people take greatness with them. So don’t label your friends as the “forever single one,” the “always drunk one,” or even “the mom of the group.” You don’t need labels. You need an honest, common ground to enjoy a real friendship and not statuses.
2. Your boss
Reputations travel throughout industries. They stay carved into the corporate ladder. Don’t label your boss in a way that could change the way they are seen in the professional world, especially if it’s just you blowing off steam.
3. Your lunch
Don’t feel guilty over your food; don’t call it your splurge, or the cheat meal. Just eat well and take care of yourself. You don’t have to label the food you eat to represent who you are. It’s there to nourish you, not to brand you.
4. Your family
It can be easy to stereotype your family. You can be the crazy ones, the conservative ones, the foreign ones, the funny ones, the [insert adjective here] ones, etc. But you have to know that not everyone in your family represents themselves with that description, and it may even hurt someone’s feelings.
5. A stranger
Whether it’s the girl in class, the celebrity, or the person walking down the street…they’re a stranger to you. Do you really know where they’re going? Where they’ve been? Do you know enough to cast a title upon this human you know nothing about? Live and let live.
6. An ex-boyfriend/girlfriend
We all have some terrible relationships in our past, but we all have some great ones, too. Either way, we shouldn’t label a past relationship because that person will mean something to someone else, and it isn’t right for you to sway their opinion should they know of a label beforehand. People are different depending on who they’re with.
7. A city
You never know what someone is looking for when they visit or move to a city. Everyone enjoys different things. So to them, it could be their favorite place in the world. But to you, it could be your worst nightmare. It’s all subjective, so we need to figure it out for ourselves and allow people the same courtesy.
8. A goal
Never label your goal (or someone else’s) as small, or pathetic, or too big, or too imaginative. If you dream it, then you can do it (and so can someone else). So don’t diminish or blow up an ambition, because you never know where someone’s passion lies. Always be confident in your own aspirations, too.
9. A choice
Never label a choice as good or bad or anything else. We all make choices and they come with consequences. We can enjoy what comes or learn from what came. Either way, life goes on. It continues how it’s meant to without classifying each step of the way.
This one seems obvious, but it’s the hardest to do. You can be your worst critic and your biggest supporter. Push yourself, reward yourself and let yourself breathe sometimes. Live, and live well, but don’t judge yourself too harshly. Don’t box yourself into a label you don’t want to be, don’t want to stay, or think it’s what others see you as. Be you. Be the very best version of you. Do it without deliberately defining yourself. You are forever blossoming.