Does your personality have a better label than your bag?
Prada, Gucci, Versace, Bottega Venetta, Balenciaga, Tom Ford, Salvatore Ferragamo, Rolex etc. are few luxurious brands one can associate with when you talk of labels. But, these are not the labels I’m referring to.
I speak of the labels you carry as a person.
If you recall, through childhood we are faced with the experience of “labelling” with direct, sometimes indirect nick-names that people around us choose for us, which further grows into becoming a part of our identity, almost creating the reputation we face for ourselves in society.
Why do we label others?
“She’s so skinny. He’s so fat. She’s such a show-off. He’s a good-for-nothing. She’s a drunk. He’s a blabber mouth. She’s so easy. He’s so fast. She’s a slut. He’s so gay. He’s a womanizer. They are not happy….” are few basic labels we find ourselves giving or receiving.
We are surrounded by a world that spares us no space to make mistakes. There is no room for imperfection. We are raised to believe in perfection. We are supposed to carry this fortress of expectation bestowed on our shoulders only to muster up every little act of courage to keep those expectations fulfilled, and not accomplishing that would mean even more labelling and judgement.
But, why is the world so judgmental? Are we so perfect ourselves to go ahead and find fault in others? I ask myself this before questioning anyone else. Every time I come across a person or a circumstance that doesn’t fit my belief systems, I judge. It’s natural and I think we as humans feel the need to judge in order to fit in on some level OR we clearly cannot accept a change of perspective, of what we’ve grown up believing. Like Joey fake laughing at intellectual jokes that Ross and Chandler crack - he tried to fit in. Are our judgements of others and the world so frivolously stated because we want to feel accepted and part of a social fraternity or is it an unacknowledged bad habit we have imbibed? And, what constitutes as the line of ‘accepted’ judgement, and is there any such thing? Do the labels we face in life bribe the judgements we make? These are questions that religion, philosophy and great thinkers of the world have tried to address. Some have driven change through their philosophy while some remain lost in the history of time. Nevertheless, we find ourselves battling with judgement day and and day out as we live our lives.
How can we stop being judgmental?
Experience the world — Unless you experience the world, it will be difficult for you to understand how the world works. A judgmental mind is a limited mind. And, it’s only through meeting different kinds of people and living varied experiences will you be able to accept the differences more openly.
Open-mindedness — Once you experience the world and different kinds of people and cultures, you need to consciously try and be more open-minded about society and people, have the maturity to open up to new experiences not aligning with your core beliefs and educate yourself by reading about varied perspectives. By being this way you not only expand the horizons of your mind, but you will find yourself becoming a promoter of peace and positivity in this world.
Time-out response system — When we come across a person or a situation that questions our beliefs and we are caught off guard urging to judge or respond negatively — we must try to restrain ourselves from acting out immediately. A delayed approach where we give ourselves sometime before we pass on any judgement is a good way to curb labelling altogether.
No to petty groups— To keep a fresh mind at all times and not taking things too seriously will general help in keeping a positive mindset going. To gossip, judge and label is a petty activity. To refrain from indulging in such activities or keeping an arms length from people who do so will help you largely stay away from pettiness and move towards healthier relationships. As Roosevelt rightly stated: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people”. Which mind do you have?
More empathy and kindness — If we succeed in developing an empathetic world view nurtured with kindness, we will be more accepting of the world, irrespective of its shortcomings. If we treat others with the same understanding we seek for ourselves, we will help in creating a better world surely. A world you would want to live in.
Few quotes on living in a non-judgmental world:
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them” — Mother Teresa
“Be curious, not judgmental” — Walt Whitman
“What is love? Love is the absence of judgement” — Dalai Lama
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” — Paulo Coelho
“When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” — Earl Nightingale