There used to be a saying long ago to describe someone who may not be the most intelligent or perceptive. People would say ‘They’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer are they?’. Being the blonde that I am, I’ve been perceived to be one of those dull knives more than once in my life. Probably, it was because I wasn’t paying attention, was preoccupied with something and not listening, or just not interested. Still, the label stuck with me.
Labels are that way, aren’t they? Once that label is glued onto you it’s hard to get off. I’ve tried to remove labels from cans before and, trust me, it’s a lot of work. Once that glue hardens, it stays there even if you rip the paper off. It’s like super glue!
Name calling can be the same way. Every day we hear labels being thrown around in the toxic political environment we live in. So much so, it’s like we’re all living as adult children back in the 2nd grade playground.
Now, it’s true, there are those who may not necessarily be as quick to perceive, understand, or ‘Get it’. They may not even be aware of it either. I often run into them while waiting at stop lights for them to realize the light turned green; 30 seconds ago. Moments like that do make it difficult not to label that person in front of us (among other things).
We all label ourselves in many ways too. We go by the label of our job description, family role, marriage status, sexuality, income level, skin color, hair color, musical preference, and so on. It’s as though everything in life has a label!
The Mrs recently purchased labels to stick to our airtight plastic containers in the cabinet so I won’t get the sugar and the flour confused. Granted, those labels are a good thing. Not to mention the labels that direct us where to go, what to eat and not to eat, warn us of danger, and even encourage us with positive feedback. So, all labels are not inherently bad.
The key is knowing when we are using labels to either limit, look down upon, degrade, demean, negatively influence, falsely accuse, and even destroy another person. Those labels need to go. Imagine taking a label we may want to put onto our political opponent like ‘…Blank…tard’ and replacing it with something we can find about them that’s positive? It may just change our perspective about a lot of things.
Tonight, here’s to re-labeling those people in our lives who we’ve kept under a negative label by finding something good about them and focusing on that. Here’s also to re-labeling ourselves by stopping the negative internal talk (i.e. ‘I’m such a dummy, etc.’) and replacing it with positive talk; maybe even reinforcing ourselves with words of what God says about us. If we can begin to re-label others, and ourselves, with something positive, I guarantee that it will change our lives forever and for the better…