A couple of blogs ago, in Nutrition Confession, I referenced the idea of freeing myself from “labels” in the nutrition arena. What I mean by that is simply choosing to not limit myself to the boundaries of the latest hype and rather allow myself the grace to blur the boundaries, exercise self-awareness and openly discover what is best for me and my journey. Recently, when people have asked me about my nutrition and I express some of the changes I have made, almost immediately I am asked for a title or label to assign my methods to. This happens all over the different spectrums of our lives and what I have come to realize, which at its core is so obvious, is the fact most people feel the need to label something in order to understand it. We search for common denominators of past experiences and things we know in an attempt to either relate or distance ourselves from what is being presented to us at the time. Through these labels, we claim for ourselves, we also form connections with others who claim the same labels. There is an automatic bond, a trust and cohesion at least on some superficial level knowing those we associate with share some of our beliefs. Therefore, not only do we gain understanding through labels, we also gain belonging. While I see the value, acknowledge the security factor, and recognize the efficiency of processing with this mode of operation, I also can’t help but wonder what we are limiting ourselves to through such reactionary judgment and/or selection. I mean, what if the labels are wrong? What if we choose to change our labels?
Alternatively, if we were to approach every person, idea and the rest with a clean slate what would we learn? Would our perceived stress increase or decrease due to the unknown? For some, opening themselves in this way may feel liberating! Freedom from the labels which have been boxing them in for years, decades, or more. All to often, you see kids labeled as wild and a trouble-maker or meek and shy. By hearing these labels imposed on them at such an early age many kids will unconsciously live into those descriptors not knowing themselves to be any other way. They no longer explore and develop their true identity as one has already been given to them. When we are identified with an image, whether good or bad, the tendency is to act or behave in line with that image even if it is not an authentic expression of who we are. Beyond the concept of growth and transformation, no one label can serve to do any of us justice. We are forever more than any label could describe. Every individual has depths and qualities worth freedom of expression and even more, those labels are in constant evolution. Say a specific label was true of someone in their teens, yet no longer accurate in their 30s, however they feel uncertain how to break from this identity and move into a new self-creation. This attachment to an inauthentic self or image may be limiting them from moving on in their lives possibly to greater expansion. If removing labels from your identity sends a shrill of nervousness through your veins, ask why? Do you fear judgement? Do you fear rejection? We could search and ponder several thoughts as to the spawn of emotions that come up for you and regardless of what we come up with I am betting it is all rooted in fear. I would be entirely telling a falsity if I said this fear wasn’t present in my life. What I can also say is I persist daily in keeping a clean slate! I do this not only when confronted by others I may have predisposed thoughts about, new ideas I don’t instantly agree with and ways of doing things that feel unnatural but also with myself in relation to my goals, visions and realities. For me, ditching labels leaves me open to grander possibilities by replacing any preset expectations with present time acceptance and belief. With my eyes and ears open, my mind receptive and my heart in tune with intrinsic principles, I am free to choose in life. My hope is for everyone to create this empty space in their lives by decluttering mental baggage and igniting your source of passion and creation to fulfill your grandest dreams!