How to get rid of negative labels others put on us

We live in the brand company, all the objects that surround us they have a label where its brand, its components, its owners, its geographical origin or its mode of occupation are specified, among others.

These tags have an obvious utility because they lead us to get a pretty rough idea of ​​what we are dealing with at a glance, At a glance. For example, in the case of a product to be sold to the public, at a glance, we will have the idea (more or less approximate to reality) of knowing if it is of more or less quality, even before to know its properties in depth.

Labels in people: between prejudice and ignorance

The point is that subjects wear “labels” long before objects wear them. The labels we have been given by the people around us and those with whom we live, And even labels that we put on ourselves for some reason.

These labels can define us at a particular time and under certain circumstances (or not) but people, unlike objects, have a great capacity for change in the way we relate to others and to ourselves. Plasticity and resilience are the elements that give us the power to change.

Can you fight a label?

The advantages of these categories are obvious: they save effort.

However, in certain circumstances it can be very difficult to get rid of a negative label (Or even positive if we consider it may affect us negatively in one way or another).

Maria’s story “La patosa”

To explain what a label is and how it can confront us, I propose the following story:

Maria was a twelve year old girl living with her family. She had a twin brother who was very agile in competitive sports, and she, on the other hand, was not very good at that skill, although it was not bad either. Her brother, when they played together, called her “Mary the Clumsy”. Every time they went to play soccer in the town square, her parents would tell her brother “Take care of Maria and don’t run too much, you know she’s not as nimble as you”.

Later, when it was her turn to go to school, the young girl did not want to play sports, and justified herself with her friends “because I am pathetic”. Maria was growing up and with her the label. Her friends joked, “Don’t let Maria do this, she’s clumsy and she will fall.” And so time passed.

When she got to high school Maria was already La patosa, when it came to doing things that required physical agility she had become very nervous and then obviously her nerves were wreaking havoc, reaffirming her pathetic state. . But Mary, she wasn’t clumsy, Mary wore the label of pathetic.

Does this story of Maria “La patosa” seem to you?

Labels often appear in groups, sometimes unimportant, others of some use in certain circumstances. There are many labels that look like a post-it and are temporary, but there is also a tattoo: lis that they become chronic leaving a mark on our personality.

The Pygmalion effect and expectations

There are several areas of psychology that study the important role labels play in the way we relate. We know, for example, that an essential part of our daily behavior depends on expectations which relate not only to specific situations (a masterclass, a play, etc.) but also to the people involved in these situations.

So, for example, we have come to describe what is known as the Pygmalion effect: Something as abstract and intangible as expectations about self and others has a material embodiment in how we act, even carrying our abilities beyond the limits we thought we had.

that’s why it is worth taking the time to think about whether the tags we use to describe ourselves they help us understand ourselves better or, on the contrary, they limit us unnecessarily.

End negative labels

Removing these limiting labels essentially comes down to recognizing them as such and acting accordingly.

For the first, it is necessary ask ourselves a series of questions about our own self-image. You can start by answering these points:

  • What labels should I wear?
  • What adjectives have accompanied me throughout my life?
  • Who put them on me and why?
  • Which ones helped me?
  • Which ones hurt me?
  • Which were useful and which are no longer?

From these questions, it is advisable to move on to more specific questions for specific cases in order to arrive at the most exhaustive possible analysis. However, it wouldn’t take much work to commit to trying to come to clear conclusions that will allow us to move forward from this point.

From here, it is good to examine our usual behaviors and ask ourselves if we are consistent with the self-image renewed that we saw after the review period. It may take a while, but all big changes deserve it.

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