The problem with label makers

Recently it has occurred to me that the only person who ever really knows you, is you. We exist in people’s minds as their own perception and that perception is based on their own beliefs and life experiences. People always fear what they don’t know. I watch as so many try to make things fit into little, tidy boxes which they can fit into their lives, but rarely do they ever try to discover and understand. There’s a large piece of me that wonders if this lack of putting ourselves in others shoes, compassion, is because there are too many shoes now.

Our world view used to be compromised of our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. We belonged to one another. We watched out for one another. As the internet superhighway revealed new landscapes, cultures, people and problems, it seemed as if we were evolving to a greater sense of stake in humanity, but somewhere, something happened. I don’t know if we have become desensitized from exposure, or lazy and label-reliant.

Why do we so often jump to a label and why the hell would we think that any label could be all-encompassing of every fiber of a human being’s existence?

Single. Divorced. Female. Male. White. Black. Mother. Father. Son. Daughter. Brother. Sister. Friend. Addict. Average. Beautiful. Smart. Disabled. Obese. Bipolar. Narcissist. Loyal. Kind. Christian. Jewish. Muslim. Buddhist. Gay. Neuro typical. On the spectrum.

All of these words have a different meaning because we all have different perspectives.

For example, seeing someone as a traitor is not an absolute truth, even if everyone believes it.

Another example, hearing something about someone you “know” and thinking, “That’s not the person I know.” This, on the other hand, is actually true.

This is why you should question everything you’re told, even if you heard it from me.

The most interesting take away from all of this has been discovering what people think of me and realizing that it almost always has nothing to do me. It’s their perception and if you pay attention you learn WAY more about the other person before they’d ever have a clue they’d given themselves away.

It’s slowly becoming the most frightening and exhilarating discovery of my life.

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