Plain and simple: labels suck. As a health-conscious person, I’m always confronted with the question, “are you a vegetarian or a vegan?” In the past, I would immediately answer this question without hesitation. Now, I refrain from answering with a “yes” or “no.”
Why? I am simply opting out of a label. A label is a categorization that may or may not be accurate due to predefined criteria. Often times, it can lead to generalizations. Whether a label is attributed to diet, race, ethnicity, religion, political view, sexuality, economic status or any other category, it does not allow for flexibility. Additionally, it relies on assumptions, which can result in dismissal from an opposing group.
While common interests and beliefs may be shared among certain groups, it doesn’t mean all people are the same. We are all diverse individuals who offer our own unique contributions and flair to the world. Not to mention, we are all shaped by different experiences and stages of life.
I’m first to admit that I’ve used labels and I’ve even labeled myself. We are a world of labels. With that being said, it’s important to look beyond the label, so you can understand and appreciate similarities and differences and even find common ground. At the end of the day, we are all human.
What are your thoughts on labels? Have you been categorized as something yet you didn’t meet the assumed critiria?