Race, Class, IQ are all common label topics and something we are ALL guilty of adhering to, negatively or positively, it does not matter. The fact is we all do it. What I want to highlight is that once we bring awareness to the bigger ‘judgments’ we make about our environment and those that occupy it relative to ourselves, we can then begin to bring awareness to the internal chatter we direct to ourselves and which may often spill out to others. So to the labels we hold for ourselves, most often picked up in childhood from siblings, parents, teachers and peers. We carry these into adulthood sometimes to great effect and sometimes to devastating effect.
In a 2010 Article in Psychology Today Adam Alter explained, “Researchers began to study the cognitive effects of labeling in the 1930s, when linguist Benjamin Whorf proposed the linguistic relativity hypothesis. According to his hypothesis, the words we use to describe what we see aren’t just idle placeholders–they actually determine what we see… Labels shape more than our perception of color; they also change how we perceive more complex targets, like people.”
Do you ever pre-empt your own ‘labels’? Ever witnessed a person ‘explain’ the pigeon hole their belief locks them in? “I’m very open/stubborn/determined/down to earth”.
Are the labels you were given as a child and likely repeating as your own ‘belief of self’ into adulthood, damaging your chances of progressing in your life?
Labels and the belief that cements them in place are inextricably linked. I have seen body transformation success of epic proportions and transformations of moderate proportions. The training, nutrition and support were identical. The key difference? The individuals belief around their worthiness, ability and subsequent actions committing to the work required.
We always prove ourselves right no matter what.
So here’s the whole system –
- Core Truth: your finances are a mess. Core Belief: you are irresponsible with money. Active Belief: your finances never seem to work out. Behaviour: ignoring your finances and your financial responsibility. Outcome: your finances are a mess.
- Core Truth: your relationships are always chaotic. Core Belief: you do not deserve to be loved and valued in a meaningful way. Active Belief: you never seem to find the right partner. Behaviour: you take what you can get. Outcome: you’re relationships are always chaotic.
What are some of your Core Truths?
- “I dont deserve happiness”
- “I’m just a big/solid girl/guy”
- “I’m not smart”
- “I’m not fit enough/co-ordinated enough to exercise”
- “Im just lazy”
- “My life is so busy”
- “I’m too busy to (x,y,z)”
The Difference Between Excellence & Perfectionism
I would like to raise another point and that is of the excellence/ perfectionism argument. They are not the same nor are they driven by the same internal factors. Perfectionism is a fear based trait which presents with procrastination, unfinished projects and performance anxiety leading to a demoralised individual in extreme cases. The pursuit of excellence is a joy based attitude to tasks, ranging from the seemingly mundane to the extreme, taken in stride, in time and with a presence and purpose that is stress free and energising.
They often get confused and often used interchangeably to justify a pattern of (negative) behaviour. Don’t be fooled, perfectionism is suffocating and comes from a place of low self-worth and fear. John Amodeo, PhD states “A steady diet of being shamed for inevitable shortcomings can give rise to a vigilant perfectionism” [over time and through our experiences as we develop]. “When our self-worth is tied to our actions rather than embracing ourselves as we are — a human being with strengths and weaknesses — we set ourselves up for being anxiously preoccupied or depressed. Become mindful of the shame and fear that may be driving the cruel burden of perfectionism, remember this: you don’t need to be perfect to be loved and accepted. As you replace the desire for perfection with the pursuit of excellence, you don’t need to do that perfectly either.”
In conclusion, I invite us all to bring a willingness to witness our own internal dialogue. To observe the active and recurring patterns in topic, language and judgments in our daily lives. This awareness will begin to offer valuable insights into how our beliefs, truths and actions become form. We then have the choice to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.
All ones energy; emotionally and physically gets freed up to be directed to the desire, to ‘the dream’ and to achieving profoundly positive outcomes. We can witness our avoidance justifications and explanations, call them what they are: ‘fears’. We can stop blame shifting, using involved justifications for why we are not worthy. We can finally address the fear and move forward to achieve and grow in the experiences.
Embracing the adventures for what they are. Joyous opportunities for personal growth.