Everyone is labeled at some point in their lives. Lazy, handsome, pretty, intelligent, stunning, stupid, rude, short-tempered, cold…. I could build this list into an entire blog post. Nothing but adjectives that describe people and their most known characteristics, at least according to those who stand on the outside staring in at an individual. We all achieve a stamp so-to-speak.
But why would any of us allow others to define how we are unique in the world? How can we, as distinct individuals, accept someone else’s version of who we are? What our trademark is? Shouldn’t we be the authoritative voice on who we are and what defines us?
As a child, I grew up in a family of 5 kids and I was the youngest. In my earliest memories I can recall my siblings saying that I was spoiled, bratty, and everything was given to me. In adulthood, my siblings defined me as a person that has never had to work for anything that I ever gotten in life. My sisters and brother labeled me.
For those who know me…really know me…. I’m none of those things. I certainly could have embraced and fulfilled those labels. It would have been easy to slide into those predefined characteristics, grab hold with both hands, and become the worst version of myself. But I resisted.
At a young age I decided that I would be who I was, not who others expected me to be. To hell with that. I’ve worked hard throughout my life. Nothing was given to me. I committed myself to figuring out who I was – what my trademarks would be. I stepped out of their boxes, and in my opinion, flourished under the umbrella of self-definition. Believe me, I don’t fit their mold and yes, it causes quite a bit of conflict between us, but I think that’s why I’m happy. I’m living my life on my own terms.
I define me.
Not some jack-wagon, standing on the sidelines of my life, shouting and chanting their impressions of who I am. How could they possibly know the definition of what makes me unique? Blocking out those external definitions is tough though, especially if those are the things you’ve always heard ringing in your ears. The only things you’ve heard.
One of the toughest things a person can do is fight against the labels thrust upon them by external sources, and listen to their inner voice. Fighting to be who you are, at times, feels like an insurmountable task. Daunting even. And in the face of the labels spewed onto you by family, friends, coworkers, the media, and even social media, it’s easy to tow someone else’s line. But I will tell you, from experience, towing your own line is much more satisfying.
So, do the dangerous thing and define yourself. Label yourself. Develop your trademark according to your own personal standards. Have fun being you.