Drop Your Labels, They’re Ruining Your Life

It’s rare that an “inspiring” music video actually, well, inspires me. “I’m jaded and skeptical. I’m not a fan of this type of music.” Those are some of my labels. And if I allowed myself to believe in them too strongly I would have turned off this video after the first minute (ok, honestly probably after 10 seconds). But I didn’t, and I did feel inspired. Can you take 4 minutes to let go of your labels and get some joy out of people playing?

What labels do others use to define you? What labels do you use to define yourself? Sometimes those labels are useful as general guidelines but when you believe in them too strongly they become walls that narrowly define you. They prevent growth and change. They define and restrict your mental/emotional being and your physical being.

What you see as unbiased truths about yourself can create subtle physical restrictions that prevent you from living your full life. For example, one of my clients believed she had thick, heavy legs. She had a kind of plodding walk and would often comment that her thick legs made many activities she enjoyed difficult: walking, dancing, climbing stairs. (Maybe she didn’t enjoy climbing stairs, but it was something she did a lot and was having a hard time with it.) She also believed her “thick, heavy” legs made her less attractive. What’s important here is not how others would label her but that she believed that label. And that belief caused a subtle tightening in her legs that made them feel thick. That heaviness contributed to her belief that she was unattractive, which in turn brought about feelings of sadness and anxiety. As we worked together playing with this belief, exploring movement and conscious constructive thinking, she began to let go of that tension in her legs, which made them feel lighter and move freely. This experience challenged her long-held belief and she saw that when she labeled her legs as “thick and heavy” that old, familiar tension would come flooding back in, making her legs indeed feel heavy. But after our work she recognized what was happening and knew how to change it!

Because you are a mental/emotional/physical person, a belief in one area affects the others. Labels you carry about your body affect your emotions and vice versa. Anxiety tightens up your body and in turn tightening your body contributes to your anxiety. What’s particularly marvelous is connecting to and changing the physical, mental, emotional aspects all together!

So be careful with your labels. No, wait! Be clumsy with them! Drop them! Let them fall to the ground. Don’t hold on too tight. Use them when they’re useful and then, “oops, clumsy me, I dropped my label and it shattered.” Oh well. You can always get another one if you need it.

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