What's in a label?

Today Fe reflects on why the labels we use to describe our own selves matter

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I've been reflecting this week on the power that words have, in particular the ones we use to label ourselves.
I've long thought of myself as a jogger. Recently it was suggested to me I was actually a runner. Not only that, but that I was a Mum who runs.
 
As I felt my chest puff out, I was amused by the difference in how I felt as I shifted to perceiving myself as someone who not only runs, but runs against the odds, finding time amidst the myriad other things that call my attention.
 
I got to wondering, where am I limited by the labels I use? If jogger to running mum can shift my self-belief so much so quickly, what else was possible?
 
Thinking beyond myself, it is clear time and again when clients talk that the way they think of themselves can get in the way of them having the life they want. People sometimes label themselves as depressed, or anxious, or foolish, or a failure, as if they really were those things. Identifying with a label can leave you stuck with its consequences because it can become a filter that you use to look at the world through, or even a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Just changing the label and making it less enduring, for example 'I am depressed' might become 'I am feeling low just now' opens up a world of possibilities for change. Better still, anyone can do it and it's completely free.
 
Why not keep an ear out for the words you use to describe yourself? You might jot them down, and later consider the consequences of using them. If you spot labels that are on reflection not accurate, or are not helpful to you, why not swap in a new way of thinking that you find more enabling? All that jogging might just be running after all!

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

Hi. I'm Fe, and I'm here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I believe every client is unique, I work with you to help you explore, discover and grow in whatever ways are right for you. I work with a wide range of clients, both long and short term. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to UK clients online and in Gainford, Co.Durham in North-East England. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists online and in person. Following a career in Organisation Development I became a therapist because it's my heart work. Before having my family and starting my private practice I worked in the NHS and mental health charities.