Why Labels Become Limits and How they Defeat Your Vision
One of my favourite statements from my diving is that limits are choices. The problem is that most of us battle to see limits, which makes consciously choosing something new almost impossible. A really easy way to start to become aware of the limits you are living is to look at the labels you have unconsciously adopted. Labels are roles that have come from your parents, society and general environment. Some of mine are woman, world record holder, wife, sister, aunt, friend, employee, analyst… the list goes on and on and one and with each new label comes a set of predefined expectations.
My favourite limiting label is woman. It is one that I had to really work on releasing in diving. For those of you who are unfamiliar with deep diving, it is a world dominated by men and they do not accept newcomers easily, especially not women. In many cultures woman are consciously or unconsciously designated specific and often restricted roles in society and even today, I encounter individuals who are unable to deal with a woman in the workplace (always comes as a surprise to me).
I have spent quite a lot of time becoming aware of the labels I am living and in so doing, understanding how my interpretation of those labels either limit or empower me – because it is a personal interpretation! When you become aware of the labels you are living you can start to create an awareness of what is expected from you because every label has a set of standard behaviours that you will find that you have unconsciously adopted. It is in that awareness of how you are actively editing yourself to conform to a label that you will find your freedom and your power to create change.
What does this mean to your dream ? Well, if you are struggling to create it there is a good chance it is because the labels you are living do not include what you are trying to create. With every label comes a default set of potential – things you can achieve if you live that label. These are aligned with the behaviours inherent in that label and as you should be aware, behavior is the x-factor that creates or breaks your vision. If your outcome is outside what your labels are almost programmed to create, you either need new labels (my next blog topic) or you need to refine the labels so that you are working to its strengths and not its weaknesses
Why labels limit
- They come with a set of inherent, learnt, unconscious and expected behaviours
- These labels predefine what can be achieved as behaviour is directly tied into outcome – who you are creates what you get.
- Most of us have learnt to use the ‘weak’ elements in a label and are rarely aware of and certainly rarely practice, the strong aspects.
Steps to Delimiting Labels
- Pick a place in your life where you are finding it difficult to create a change (it is normally in one of the following – work, home, friends, family or the world)
- Make a list of the labels that you feel obliged to fulfil (mother – nurturing, sacrificing, always there, career second….for example).
- Pick one of those labels and take it with you for a day – be present to it and see if you can become aware of those moments when the label is being activated. When do you live that label ? How does it feel ? Does it liberate you or restrict you ?
- What positive aspects are there to that label (and there always are) ?
- Now for my favourite step of them all, how do you want to feel when you are living that label ?
Have you ever really taken a look at the labels you are living ? Why not ? Until you take the time to really get to know your labels you will never be able to escape them. After all, you can only change what you can see! And always remember, limits are choices – which doesn’t mean that you have to leave your comfort zone, only that you consciously choose the limits you are living. It is when you are living unconscious limits that you become resentful and despondent, those are the labels and limits you need to ferret out and redefine.