Limiting Labels and Identifications
We live our lives completely surrounded by labels, brands and classifications. We’re encouraged from our youth to categorise people into neat little columns. Everything has a label that, we either use as a negative or positive form of judgement.
We are tall, short, fat, thin, black, white, Arab, European, cool or uncool. We have categories for everything. The classifications are often used to describe others or things and can be useful, but when we have an emotional attachment to the label that’s where the problem lies.
When we attach ourselves to these labels it becomes a part of our identity (and sometimes our entire identity). If the label changes or is forced away from us we can lose our sense of identity and who we are because we were so attached to the label.
Imagine a girl who has lived her life living under the identity of “Achiever.” She took extreme pride in her ability to achieve and for her it was her sole source of value. She can make things happen. When she faces hardship, and fails at achieving her goals – she loses all sense of herself. She no longer feels she has value and she no longer knows who she is. Her world comes crashing down. She becomes self-identified with “Failure” and no matter how much she tries to stand up again, the identity follows her like a dark rain cloud. She’s limited herself within walls of “Achiever” and “Failure”.
The labels we become attached to hinder us from being who we truly are. We block our potential and our abilities by identifying with limiting labels. We are more than the names we give ourselves. We are everything and nothing.
Everything and nothing:
By everything and nothing, I mean we can take on the attributes or qualities we need, without allowing ourselves to become identified with them. Instead of stuffing ourselves into a box, we can free our lives instead. There are infinite personalities, but when we limit ourselves to a handful of them, we cannot tap into everything else.
If you’re identified as “non-committal” you prevent yourself from ever connecting with something on a deeper level. You use the label as an escape mechanism, preventing you from experiencing the sense of achievement when you see something through to the end.
If you’re identified as “tolerant”, you may prevent yourself from expressing your anger when you reach the threshold of your tolerance, pushing yourself to keep putting your feelings and grievances aside.
We are more than the labels and identities we give ourselves, indescribable by mere human language.
How to identify the identities?
Ask yourself in what areas of your life do you have the most pride and the most shame?
For example – Someone might say “I take pride in my heritage, I am American and no one is better.” Another might say “I’m ashamed that I’m American, we’re all bullies.”
How do you describe yourselves to others? How do you imagine people would describe you?
What labels do you look down on and what do you feel most connected to?
These identities are basically what we now call the Ego, the masks we wear to face the world. The false self that makes us believe that our insecurities, our pride, our fears, our desires etc… are who we truly are.
What happens when I identify the Ego?
You find your weak point, your limitation. Once you identify it, you can then work on releasing it.
“I am not my [insert label here]”
Example, “I am not my national identity”
“I am not my gender”
“I am not my age”
“I am not my family”
Once allowing yourself to acknowledge the existence of the attachment, you can then begin working on healing and releasing it. Forgive yourself for any harsh judgements you may have passed on yourself. Forgive yourself any pain you may have caused yourself or others. Forgive yourself any ideals you couldn’t live up to. You’re human.
What is it like to release the Ego?
You’re no longer attached to the identity or mask, so you no longer feel pain when someone or something threatens or attacks it. For example, a man who isn’t attached to the identity typically associated with being a man, won’t become upset or feel hurt when someone attacks his “manhood.” Words like “sissy”, “weak”, “not a man” won’t affect him, because he’s no longer placing his sense of value on the label “man.”
We become free from our limitations and we allow our true self to shine through.
What else can I do release my limiting identifications?
Seek guidance from someone with experience. Any therapist or coach will be able to guide you to untangle the attachments to any labels or identifications. Wouldn’t life be grand free of restraints? Limitless and expansive.
Contact us if you want to explore your relationship with your Ego further.
Have you had any experiences releasing attachments in past? What were they and how did you work through it? Share your opinions and experiences in the comments section below.