I’m a bit uneasy about labels… at least when it comes to applying them to people. Labels can cause us to think too narrowly of people. We slap labels on people and it’s assumed that they will always fall strictly within that label and we don't like it when they diverge from their labeling. I have been labeled an introvert all my life and for the longest time I hated it. The label itself isn’t bad; it’s simply describing a personality type. The problem is that the label ‘introvert’ comes with all kinds of negative connotations. It can be confusing because under the right circumstances, I can be the exact opposite of an introvert. Few people have seen the extrovert side of me and those that have are surprised by it. It’s difficult when you’re labeled an introvert and you’re in a situation where you feel like you might want to be a little extroverted because nobody likes it when someone acts outside of their labeling. I've been labeled an introvert so I better damn well act like an introvert.
So here I am, expected to act within my label but also being told all the bad things my label means. It’s really frakked up when your labeled, told you label is bad, but when you try remove it you kicked in the balls for trying.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to allow myself to be proud of being labeled an introvert; to be proud of who I am. There was a realization that I was bowing to the negative connotations of the label introvert; uselessly expelling energy to try to fix something that wasn’t broken. There was also a realization that it's ok to act outside of my labeling if I was in a situation where I was comfortable with that.
Good or bad we label people, it’s how we define them and define our expectations of them. But you have to be careful with labels because they can cause us to define people too narrowly, to define ourselves too narrowly. Labels can poison our perception of people and ourselves.