Labels help us remember who we are — sort of. When your child goes to school in September every item they bring will need to be labeled with their initials. Keep that in mind when they ask for the huge box of crayons. We use labels for addresses, food, clothes and countless other items, but why in our personal lives are we so hung up on labels?
We label people based on their appearance, job, vehicle, clothes, etcetera. For instance, if we see a sports car zooming down the road some people automatically assume it’s a teenage guy, driving his dad’s car with no regard for speed. When it fact it could be a soccer mom late for work. I just labeled a mother — soccer mom — not all mothers are soccer moms.
I’ve realized lately that there are a lot of labels my life falls under now such as single mom, single parent, separated and even alone. I’m not the only person that falls under those labels — there are thousands of others out there that are no different than me.
Recently a friend of mine asked me, “Why do people feel they have to be defined by labels other people put on them?”
Talk about an eye-opener! I’m the same person I was when I was married. Yes, my life has changed and my circumstances have changed, but that doesn’t mean I should be seen as a label. I’m the same mother, friend, daughter, niece and co-worker I’ve always been.
These labels are not permanent. Individuals are not sentenced to a life of loneliness because their first marriage didn’t work out. Parents who don’t live together can co-parent to help their children live the best life possible. Blended families with step-siblings are more common then ever and divorce isn’t as taboo as it was 30 years ago.
As our lives grow and evolve from one stage to the next we need to peel off the old labels that others put on us and make our own labels, we need to define ourselves and set ourselves on the path that makes us happiest.
If I had to choose labels for myself they would say things like strong, independent, confident, hopeful and ready to take on the world.