Lately I am experiencing people’s fragility and reactivity around the use of appropriate labels that are self chosen by another or a group of people.
This mean ego move is not unknown to me, I have been doing this and might be in the danger of doing so when triggered, out of ignorance and lack of sensitivity.
I understand the discomfort with labels some might feel with a view to how many people utilize them as a means of setting themselves apart, exotizing the other or rendering the unique human being behind it invisible in any other way.
I get the subtle ways words and labels can have a self-limiting and -isolating effect if we are not mindful. “I AM” is a very powerful self programming sequence that can be useful or create unexpected suffering when chosen unwisely.
Rejecting the use of any labels or self chosen prescriptive of others is an expression of a lack of respect and understanding of another human’s equality and sovereignty. It speaks to me of the person’s lack of freedom to be all of who he truly is due to strict critical and judgmental self-management.
Not using labels, as a shorthand to convey multi-layered concepts, ideas or identities without adequate explanations is showing a lack in communication skills and understanding of its challenges. When you side-step labels to monologize on their content you might be in danger of being disrespectful of another’s time and communication preferences.
If using an appropriate label gives you a feeling of being “less than” our being out of your league and makes you reject and reframe the meaning the labels instead it speaks of old pain of being shamed to me.
I have compassion for internal conflicts and protective patterns but fiercely oppose the externalization that hurts another’s feeling or becomes part of systemic oppression.
Our discomfort and pain are invitations to inquire, to educate ourselves and use the tools of language even if they are lacking. When we follow that invitation and explore we inevitably will be met in our shared humanity and enriched by the diversity of lived and embodied realities and the kaleidoscope of insights it affords those open to receive.
The freedom of some to relabel themselves and their preferences is an act of liberation for all, opening the pathway to understanding our society and freeing ourselves from any label that limits our self expression.
Respecting everyone’s freedom of expression and choice of labels is a small admission fee to our own freedom, don’t you think?