You're More Than Your LABEL

You have two ways you can look at me:

  1. I am a dog trainer, blogger, copywriter, professional coach, primitive dog enthusiasts, crafter, bullet journal fanatic, gamer geek, entrepreneur.
  2. I'm a PTSD & Depression survivor with learning disabilities who went to special schools, struggled through college, and struggled to pull my life together. 

I lied - there is a third:

  • I am me. I'm usually happy, eclectic and a little dog eccentric. I work hard to have the best life I can in the finite amount of time we have on this planet. I love deeply, think fast, and never stop wondering. I will always try my best. I am me and that is enough.

Which person do you like better? Probably the 3rd. Me too. Because that is me. That is the core of me. Just a simplified list of things you could easily observe about me. #2 would likely never impact you and #1 only matters if you're looking for one of my skill sets. It's still not ME.

Recently Cannon did an experiment where they took 6 photographers and asked them to do a photoshoot with the same man, except they were told vastly different things about the man. How they portrayed him in the photos was deeply impacted by how they perceived him. (Article here.) How we chose to describe ourselves affects how the world sees us. It also affects how we see ourselves.

Prince Ea came across my Facebook Feed recently with a video called "You Are Not Depressed, Stop It". I agree with most of his message. Feelings do pass. I also understand the pushback in the comments, that mental illness is not that simple and that is true too. But his message has a deeper truth. Because with all illness there are things you can do to stave off symptoms, if not the entire thing. Yes, just like Diabetes can be treated, so can a chemical imbalance in the brain. And not just with traditional medicine as I know that doesn't work for everyone. There are therapies, life choices, and actions that can be taken to find that relief. I say this as someone who has been there. 

Meanwhile don't make your struggle your identity. Don't allow someone else's interpretation of that label color their opinion of you. You're you. You're great! You're enough. You don't need to use it to explain how something did or did not happen. Just by saying you could or could not, that is enough. Frankly, most people (except family and friends) don't care about your reasons except to tear them down anyway.

I remember watching an episode of Glee once. It was about wearing your "label" with pride. I agree you should be proud of who you are and it can be empowering to be surrounded by like minded people who are passionate about the same things you are. But labels also separate and isolate. It is so easy to fall into an us vs. them. Look at politics, religion, and all the other things you're not supposed to talk about in polite company. 

I'm not bringing this up to tell you not to have pride in the things you're passionate about. Instead I am asking you to stop labeling YOUR problems, disorders, and challenges. At least outside of their proper place, such as a doctor's office. Or use terminology that is broader until a more specific term is helpful instead of harmful.

How about this for a LABEL?

  • Life
  • Affecting
  • Beliefs
  • Enable
  • Limitations

Let's make sure our labels are not LABELs.