Over the course of my many decades on Planet Earth, the many roles that may be part of a person’s life have been referred to as “parts, “ “roles,” “jobs,” “hats” and, most recently, “labels.” The fact that we can be many different things to many different people has sometimes raised the question, “Why must we label everything and everyone?”
While some people find this disturbing, perhaps because they see the negative connotations implied by such labeling, there is another perspective that seems to become lost while we focus on the negative. I don’t disagree that labeling can be used to bully, bash, and abuse, but it plays another more important part, in my way of thinking. We speak a verbal language that we use to communicate with others. We use descriptive words to relate what we see when we look around our world.
I have been known to say that understanding each other would be so much easier if we were all telepathic. Wait! What??? Yes, it really would. First, when you wanted to relate to someone what you were talking about and they aren‘t quite getting it, you’d be able to create a picture in your mind of what you wanted them to know about and they would be able to see that picture. Much easier than trying to verbally relate the same image. We aren’t at that stage of evolution, which is probably a good thing considering what goes on in most of our minds, so we have verbal communication to communicate with those in our lives. Verbal communication necessitates common descriptive words that we can agree relate what we are talking about. This is a horse; that is a man; this is a house; that is a nurse; this is my teacher, etc.
It goes deeper than that though. Descriptive words (labels, if you will) allow us to describe who we are and how we feel. Even more, they allow us to find others who think and feel as we do. Here again, some may see this as defending who they are, explaining themselves to others, and feel this is negative and unnecessary. I guess the “glass half-full” gal in me, wants people to understand who I am. I don’t feel a need to defend who I am, just express where my journey has led me. Labels, hats, titles, whatever you want to call them, just don’t bother me. I see them as a means of communication and clarity.
As many of you are aware, I am Wiccan. I am a Witch. That word, “Witch,” has remained cloaked in misunderstanding for centuries. Does that mean I should stop using it? I don’t think so. How am I, and others like me, ever going to change the perspective of being a Witch if we abandon the word? It’s not a matter of defending being a Witch. It’s a matter of educating others as to what that word is actually saying about the person who uses it to describe themselves. It means the same to us as the word “Christian” means to those who follow that path.
The same can be said for those words that describe sexual orientation. Why should we hide from or abandon the use of words that describe how we relate to others emotionally and sexually? There is nothing negative in being straight, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. There’s enlightenment and education in the words we use to describe our being-ness.
I know there will be those who disagree with me about this. That’s okay. We all have our perspectives of Life and our journeys to make. The thing is, even if we could eliminate labels, there would still be those who would find a way to speak ill of others. Believe me. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on educating and enlightening people rather than worrying if someone is going to use a label in a negative manner? In reality, aren’t we adding energy to the continued use of labels in a negative manner when we choose to not use them to describe who we are?
Every word we use to describe ourselves speaks to a part of who we are and where our current journey has led us. Stop right now and ask yourself, “Who am I?” First of all, you’re a spiritual being having a physical experience. After that, who are you in this physical experience? How would you describe yourself to someone else? Not in a defensive manner, but in a way of getting to know each other. What labels would you use to let the other person know where your journey has led and how you view the world around you? Descriptive words. That’s how I view labels.
The reality of our existence here is that whether you’re talking about your nationality, your spiritual leanings, your sexual orientation, or even your name, the words you use are labels describing who you are and how you view your world. Labels are like any other tool we have to use – they can be used in a positive manner or they can be used to do harm. The choice is always that of the person using them.
While there will be those who choose to use labels in a derogatory manner, I believe there should be just as many who see the validity in using labels to describe themselves and others in an effort to educate and enlighten those around them. Words do have power and we should use them to benefit ourselves and others. Proudly wear your many hats and, just as proudly, use the labels that describe the many aspects of you.