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Change Your Labels
And Change Your Life

Linda-Ann Stewart

Labeling things in your life allows you to distinguish between them. You can tell an apple from an orange, Joe from Mary, a tree from a flower. You categorize the details of your life to put them into perspective. When you want a blue car, you don't choose a yellow bike.

It's especially helpful for being able to identify what you might be feeling. Emotions are signals that let you know if you're on the right track, or if something is wrong. An abused spouse feels confused between what she perceives in her relationship and what her partner tells her is happening. This is a red flag she needs to heed.

Being able to identify anger or sadness allows you to deal with its cause. It might be that someone violated your boundaries, you might have lost someone close to you, or it's time to leave that job before you explode and get fired. Being able to categorize what you're feeling is valuable and appropriate, and allows you to seek ways to take care of your well being.

However, there's a darker side to this. If you begin to label yourself, especially in a negative way, you put yourself in a box and make yourself smaller. Everything outside of that box is then out of your reach. For instance, someone who procrastinates would view themselves through that filter and would live according to all that label implies.

They won't be able to get things done in a timely fashion, because that would conflict with what they believe about themselves. They might pass up opportunities, because they're not confident they'll get things done on time. Or they might fail to get a project done by the deadline, and lose out on a promotion.

Labeling yourself means that you've carved out a certain way of acting and responding. It may have started out to help you handle a difficult situation. But those reactions may not serve you now, but you find yourself still using them. The subconscious will use your label to restrict your actions and make sure that you don't do anything that would contradict it.

Ned identified with being "obnoxious." He hid a sensitive nature under a brash and aggressive act. Even when he could see the advantages of being calmer, he refused to change his ways because he was tied to his label. It provided him with a sense of power, belonging and security. And, because of it, he offended and alienated people he liked.

There's usually a lot of emotional energy applied when you label yourself. Shame, anger, sadness, fear, insecurity and frustration can all play a role. The Law of Attraction then ensures that you draw more of this type of energy to you so you have more to label. It's a self-perpetuating cycle.

The Universe doesn't recognize your labels, and has a much greater view of you and your potential. When you restrict your expression, you cut off some of the good the Universe is trying to give you.

If you call yourself a "nervous" person, then whenever your heart jumps will feed into that belief. You might avoid any exciting experiences for fear of the repercussions. Your world will become smaller and you'll have less opportunity to grow. Instead, to begin to open up to a greater potential, you could simply recognize your increased heart rate as a normal response to an unexpected event.

Labels come from beliefs, attitudes or actions that have been performed over and over until they have become habits. The good news is that those same beliefs, attitudes and behaviors can be changed. Start by recognizing the labels you've given yourself. Notice how you feel about them and about changing them.

If you're really uncomfortable about letting them go, it indicates how invested you are in them. They may have become excuses so you're not expected to excel or change. You may feel they keep you safe. Reappraise your labels to discern if they're serving you now, or preventing you from expressing more of who you are.

This is where categorizing can help because you can use it to decide what to do to change. Identify what beliefs, attitudes, actions and behaviors need to be adjusted to eliminate the label. Start with one small change that you can commit to doing. When you get that one accomplished and stable, choose another change and work on it.

By releasing the labels you limit yourself with, you'll be opening up the possibility for growth and expansion for yourself. Your horizons will be wider, and you'll feel better about yourself. All you need to do is believe in yourself and your potential.

Copyright © 2009-2023 Linda Ann Stewart
All Rights Reserved

As a focus coach, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart motivates women to focus and transform their business through deliberate actions that break through distraction and overwhelm to greater success, freedom, wellbeing and prosperity. Watch her FREE training video on Set Your Course to Success: 4 steps to strategically achieve your goals with confidence and ease. Register for the video and accompanying action planning guide at You can contact her at or 928-600-0452.


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