What’s in a label?

Labels direct us. They can give a list of ingredients found in our selection of food. From sodium to potassium to sugar content, such information can be quite useful. Calorie & fat especially top our list when making choices.

Labels direct us. They can point us where we need to go, illustrate how to circumvent road hazards, warn us of upcoming construction, tell us when to stop, go, or slow down.

Labels direct us towards possibly making a statement; if we are partial to designer clothes, purses, fragrance, cars, even food or water.

How do we feel about being labeled? I suppose if that label is complimentary, we don’t mind. What if it’s not? What if that label we are being met with is Metabolic syndrome? Obesity? Heart disease? Cancer?

Let’s kick it down a notch.

What if someone tells us we’re just not measuring up? Whether it’s job, relationship, parenthood, or friendship, what does that mean? What does it say to us? About us? How long do we wear it?

These are questions with no one size fits all answer. Introspection as well as dissection is required.

Let’s go back to our physical condition labels. Believe it or not it’s easier to tackle. When we are given a diagnosis, usually at that same visit, follow-up is initiated. Perhaps we are told to let it sink in, and a prescription is handed to us. You get your LABEL.

If you are familiar with the movie/book The Scarlet Letter, you know Hester Prynne is required to wear “A” for adulteress pinned to her clothing. The premise of this was not just to shame, but to label. The idea was to let it affect her; both inwardly & how those in that small town would treat her–outwardly.

When we are given our label or diagnosis, how does it affect us? Does it cause us to feel hopeless? Loss of control? Question–why didn’t I get this checked our earlier? What do I do now?

Perfectly legitimate feelings. But that doesn’t get us very far in answers. No, what’s needed is to understand is that is A LABEL. You are the same person you were yesterday, as you were the day prior to that diagnosis. You lived with whatever was an issue/discovery today, as you lived yesterday. You breathed in & out of your nostrils, you awoke when it was time to get up, & you went to bed when you were tired. You prepared meals, went to work, waited in line at the grocery store; picked up children from school. You helped with homework, & wondered where the time went when the clock read 12 AM.

What has changed? You were given a label. Like Hester in The Scarlet Letter, it may affect you–for awhile. But in the end, she knew that label had nothing to do with her. It had more to do with the people who made her wear it.

Each & every one of us is given the ability to make choices; for the most part. How we choose to live, spend our time, money, & education is up to us. What is also up to us is how we respond to what society, friends, family, even medicine is telling us. We may choose conventional roads, while exploring alternative avenues. That’s entirely personal. Decisions, particularly those surrounding health & wellness, are best made after serious introspection & informed consent.

In the movie Hester’s daughter Pearl, ends up letting that large “A” her mother was required to wear, fall on the ground as she, her mother, & father ride out of town.

What is it we need to discard as we take to a new direction? Is it a label of not good enough? Lazy? Unemployable? Is it the label of morbidly obese? Cancer patient? Is it one which tells us that we are something we are not–for better or worse? Yes, the tricky labels are the ones which flatter us; appeal to our ego.

Come out from under. Come up; Come down. What you are as well as who you are, is not found on the table of contents. IN other words, your real ingredients are not found on your LABEL.

All for now. Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comment? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

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