I was working on my Linkedin profile a couple months ago and I came to the spot where they asked for a job title. I sat staring at the blinking cursor and wondered, “How do I describe myself in one or two words?”
For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but for me it was. I was having a real issue with the labels being inflicted on people and the damage they did. I was working in security, but I knew I was so much more than a security guard. Coming up with a description of myself that would fit in that little box seemed like a monumental task.
We as a society have stopped seeing people as multi-dimensional. We describe ourselves and others in one word shorthand for convenience, but by doing so, we are limiting how the person being described is viewed by others and how they view themselves.
Most Americas do it to themselves by self-identifying. They make it easy for others to stuff them in the appropriate box. We identify as Catholic, Baptist, Democrat, Republican, etc. Each one of those labels means something wildly different to every person who hears them. As a result, there is no way to know how they are being interpreted.
Some might stuff you in the “Enemy” box if you identify as a Democrat or Republican. Others will see you as a friend, but their view of what that label means may be radically different than yours. The problem is, by the time you realize that, they have already stuffed you into a cubby hole and once in that hole, it is almost impossible to get out of it.
I have strong political views, but I don’t identify myself as one party or another. I would rather work to the greater good than to the agenda I don’t understand set out by people I don’t know and have good reason not to trust. I do the same thing with religion.
When I’m asked about my religious views I respond with, “I take what is good in all of them and toss the rest.” Answers like that make it hard to stuff me in a box and it works for a lot of different things, religion and politics are just good examples.
I am not a herd animal. I walk my path alone and I’m not afraid to do it.
I don’t take the easy path when it comes to education. I don’t and never have followed the path most taken. I have a brain and I know how to use it. I have learned how to gather my own information and how to do my own research. I have learned to form and trust my own opinions instead of basing my beliefs on those of someone else.
I have a very different view than those in the herd. I can see the path they are on and I don’t like where they are being driven. That is why I started this blog, to bring my awareness to others. To shine a light on the path they are following and to show the dangers along it.
That little box on Linkedin still needed filled, but I was at a loss on how to go about doing so. I kept asking myself, “What am I?”
I gave up and decided Linkedin didn’t need to be updated.
Shortly after that a male Olympic athlete came out as a woman and ended up on the front cover of a magazine for her bravery. A few days later, I was driving home from work and some radio personalities were mocking the whole labeling and “trans” thing.
One had self-identified as trans-generational. He was adopting all ages. I think one identified as trans-national. The third self-identified as trans-species and called himself a pterodactyl. The commentary was hilarious, but it drove a point home for me.
I’m not what other people see me as and I’m not what I was in the past. I am what I want to be in the future.
I went home and updated my Linkedin profile with the words “Visionary/Blogger.”
How many times have you heard, “She’s just a…” or “He’s a…?”
When someone sticks a label like that on you, are you really “just a…” anything? We have been taught to label ourselves for simplicity and this is strictly enforced in our society. Every form ever written forces you to make choices between the accepted answers and those acceptable answers are very limited and limiting. The problem with labeling ourselves like that, is we start thinking of ourselves as “just a…” and forget that we can be so much more.
We, as humans, are multifaceted gems, and those other facets need to be exposed to the light for our true brilliance to be exposed. So from now on when I’m asked what I am, I will say, “I am a world changer.”
What kind of limits have been imposed on you because you or society labeled you?
Encouraging others to bravery is being the change I want to see in the world. Resist those labels, because every time you do, you give someone else the courage to resist them and you shine a light on the problem.
Are you brave enough to change the world?