The High Value of Labels

Labels are powerful. They influence our opinion about hundreds of items every single day. Did you know that the labels you put on yourself are even more powerful?

Yesterday, I was scrolling through Google looking for a low-calorie cornbread recipe. My traditional recipe is well-loved by everyone in the family so I knew if I replaced it there would be a lot of pressure to make sure it was exceptional. Initially, the recipes I found had a few noticeable changes that I was afraid would greatly change the taste. Then I came upon one that looked amazing. The calories were cut in half and there weren’t any “strange” ingredients. It was a miracle! But as I continued to read the recipe I found the secret … the serving size was cut in half. I laughed at the computer as I realized that almost any food could be classed as low-calorie if the serving size is small enough. I did not use that recipe probably just as a protest. I think, though, that many people use that recipe, serve it in normal proportions and believe they are eating a low-calorie food just because the label said it was. Labels are powerful.

The same is true with each one of us. Every one of us labels ourselves, our children and our spouses on a daily basis. Have you ever heard yourself say,  “I wish I wasn’t so fat,” “I’m not pretty enough,” “My kids are so lazy,” “My spouse is so stupid.” Many people say things like that regularly. If you are one of them, you are putting negative labels on yourself and those you care the most about. And, know what? Even if it isn’t true, those labels are believed.

Here is another spin on it: even if there is partial truth to those statements, think of the power that changing that label would have. Couldn’t you influence your kids, your spouse or even your own thinking by labeling people by their positive qualities and not their negative ones? What if, instead of labeling your spouse as “stupid” when he or she forgets to do something you requested, you just don’t worry about it and then you label them as loving for bringing in the trash can or some other thing that they did remember to do. And … what if we apply this to ourselves? What if we rip off those negative labels and replace them with positive and inspiring ones. Instead of bemoaning how tight your jeans are and how fat you have become, praise yourself for going to the gym yesterday or choosing to eat celery instead of that chocolate chip cookie. You could label yourself as dedicated and motivated instead of fat. You will believe either one so it’s your choice what you want to tell yourself.

Labels really do matter so be very careful how you label yourself and those that you love! Click To Tweet

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