The way you label yourself can be a dangerous, self-destructive game.
If someone once called you a perfectionist or a people pleaser or a terrible cook, you hold onto that. Tightly. You remember that label years later and dwell on it, convinced that it's true, until--lo and behold--you've actually gone ahead and made it true. Somewhere along the line you imposed the label on yourself and ever since, you've attached that word to who you believe you are.
You especially pay attention to the ones that meant the most at the time--for better or for worse. Someone told you that you were a great painter in the second grade? Ta-da! You're convinced that you're an artist from then on, the best of the best. You hear that you look terrible in yellow? You never buy the color again. Ever.
Whether the label is good--"You're a fabulous photographer!"--or not so good--"You know, you can be really selfish sometimes..."--you become convinced that the labels are right on, that you really are those things... And the more you tell yourself that you are a certain way, the more you actually become that way.
But this is ridiculous, this habit of yours.
It's false and unhealthy and you end up hurting no one but yourself.
Because the thing is, you're never all one thing... you can be a wonderful cook one day and then stir up the world's worst recipe the next. Back in the day you may have been a star math student--gold star stickers and all--but maybe, later on, calculus stumps you. And that's fine. That's normal. That's expected. Because we are fluid and flexible. We are adaptable.
What I'm trying to say is--we tend to ignore our own changeable nature.
We talk a whole lot about change in certain areas of our lives--in work, in love, in our latest look. But for whatever reason, we tend to forget that we may have changed in other ways, too... Maybe you're not the submissive people pleaser you once were--maybe you've learned to be more self-confident, more independent. Maybe you're not so passive anymore, either, because you've learned--at long, long last--to stick up for yourself. Or maybe yellow really is your color, just in a different shade.
You have to let go of those little labels you've gotten so wrapped up in, those haunting words that bounce around in your brain: selfish, neurotic, anxious--because the important thing is to know yourself as you are. Not as you've been or as you will be, but as you are right now, today, as is.
Oh, and you should also buy yellow sweaters.
Because yes, (ahem), you can pull off a good j.crew mustard.
(Photo: moe de triana)
(Photo: moe de triana)