Since the time I remember myself, every time I was asked to give a description of me, I was facing difficulties. I didn’t feel sure about almost anything and I really didn’t want to say a good thing about myself that wasn’t true. I couldn’t even choose a nickname for the email and forums when the internet started spreading. So since the beginning, I mostly use the angelosbg where bg are the first letters of my favorite band at that time, Blind Guardian. Today still, I think the issue with my general personal description hasn’t changed.
I could say I am a keen reader of books, as I definitely have read much more than the average human being. However, there are periods that I don’t read any book, I am bored to grab a book. Also, I know so many people who have read many more books than me that make me feel so ignorant. I could say I am a keen traveler but, apart from the fact that there are also so many people that have traveled incredibly more than me there are also periods that I want to be in my base and be focused on other staff, such as working on my business. I could say I love talking and expressing myself but there are many times that I prefer to not talk to anyone. Not because I have a personal problem with people, instead because it feels nicer at that time to do something on my own such as read. Am I an introvert or an extrovert? After asking people I have received both replies. As well, I could say I like physical training but most of the times I wouldn’t give priority to it as it is easy to maintain a satisfactory level without much expense of time if you know how the body works. However, I can’t be compared to others that spend a lot of time in the gym or are professional athletes.
I thought I was a total ignorant compared to others
Until some point, I thought that this situation displays an ignorance of my own self. I could see other people describing themselves so easily and with certainty that I was feeling so dumb. Apart from that I now know that I was also underestimating myself as I was seeing other people having so many positive elements. According to what they said…
The first point about which I wouldn’t like to focus much is obvious. That what I have noticed is that in fact the description of ourselves very easily becomes a fake advertisement according to what is considered cool. So very easily we pick the characteristics that we according to our model of life are fantastic and we try to convince others that we are that. First by saying or writing it and secondly by trying to display to others behavior that would be congruent to the description. It seems that our mind works in a way that we don’t always filter the information that comes from the environment, in other words, we accept information in “face-value” without criticising them. I don’t believe we can really know a person unless we are close to them but when the self-advertisement gets to be too much, in my experience it is an indication that things could in reality be even on the opposite side of what is displayed. This is how the game seems to be played, who would be able to be more convincing that indeed has the cool characteristics.
But even if someone wants to be out of this game as I think I wanted, still I believed there was a problem. I should have known what I am.
How a label limits your everyday choices
Let’s say that I say to you or to myself that I am a keen book reader. This means that I should be reading too much. When I don’t read too many hours every day then I would blame myself that I am not up to the standards. When an opportunity arises to go for a nice walk in nature I would not go because I am a keen reader and this is my priority. When I want to learn something about life I would open a book to tell me how it works and wouldn’t use at all my senses and experience to find out. When I am in a discussion I would be stressed to prove that I have read many books, I would be predisposed that I know a lot of things and not listen much to others and I would never say the phrase “I don’t know” because that will disprove that I have read many books.
Similarly, if I say to you or to myself that I am very interested in physical training I wouldn’t like you to see me enjoying a muffin or if noone watched I would blame myself hard and lose the enjoyment. Or I would need to spend much time in the gym and maybe not have more energy of other interesting activities.
The above is not necessary of course to happen but are examples that show where can we be lead when we use labels to describe ourselves. It sounds odd at first but when we use the language to describe us we are automatically in big danger to be trapped and lose all flexibility, all this potentiality for something new that arises in every moment of existence.
Label used to provide an unrealistic image of us
But a label, in my understanding at least, is not only words but also is when we choose a fake attitude. So if I want to convince me and others that I am sexy I will try to behave in a way that I think the sexy people behave. I am talking about not congruent behavior compared to what we really are, as when we are able to do something naturally we don’t need to make the single mental or physical effort to display it, it appears anyway.
Life is a constant change, even if we don’t realize it with our senses. Every moment is crystallized irreplicably and each decision of action seems to be coming more from intuition than logic. What we mostly do is block the arising of the natural behavior by trying to guide the latter towards the direction of our model losing this way our naturality. We want to make an impression so we won’t let anything that contradicts it appear. This naturality I am talking about is a balance that can be sensed and not described, the moments were all seems to be into place and each action appears entirely fulfilling and wise. Maybe this is the ultimate purpose and it is right in front of us if we learn to momentarily listen the inside and fix our sails accordingly.
The understanding that is better to avoid all labels
So to my joy I lately started to understand that it was a very good start that I didn’t have many labels to describe me to others. The next step, consciously this time, was to start the process of burning to dust all the labels I was unconsciously putting on myself. Of course these labels were directly connected to others (they just hadn’t been put into language) or had come as a result of others, it goes bidirectionally. The more I undress myself from the labels the more I feel the wind of freedom caress my body. When I realise that I am not struggling anymore to prove something it’s an amazing experience. I can anytime focus on anything I find interesting. If I want I can paint, the next moment I can sing (in case others don’t listen :)) and the next month I can learn more maths.
You are choosing every single moment
You are made to make a choice every single moment. And every choice either with short term or long term outcomes comes under different conditions and thus demands different handling. Don’t put yourselves in the situation to go beyond your natural needs only to maintain a role. It’s a pity because you may cheat others and this doesn’t give the opportunity of a stable relationship of any kind as the other(s) will soon understand the way you really operate and may not suit them.
As I see the process of life, there is a constant let’s say demand for creativity and self-reinvention. As aforementioned, the constant fluidity let’s say both inside and outside us changes the circumstances and when we are closed in a model we are in fact following something that is already dead. It’s not a coincidence that open-mindedness has to do with the younger ages while the older ones seems to listen less and be able to change less. By going closer to the physical death they are also getting closer to the mental death. A mind full of labels is a dead mind.
What does it matter if the others thought you are a painter but now you became a writer? In terms of the label thinking that governs the today’s society and human mind this is very bad marketing and you may lose customers. But is this all that matters in your creativity? Do you care about living in the process or you prefer to wait and lose life hoping to acquire results? Because if you live in the process you want to be as it naturally flows to you at any time. Else, if you prefer to live with hope for what the future may bring you can sacrifice your creativity with the expectation that being cool with the others and with money you will become someday happy.
Under the same label but totally different
Or even if you call yourself a painter. That’s also limiting in the sense that you may automatically try to mimic other successful painters that you know. And lose your individuality. Two painters can be different in so many aspects apart from their painting style. They can be working different hours, prefer different environments, think about fame differently, give different importance to money and so on. What I have commonly noticed in all sectors is that the new ones most of the time try to do the same with the acknowledged ones to reach the same point. This is an assassination of the individuality that each and every one has.
Life for me should be experienced as something whole and not divided to parts. Not a single sector I know can be in fact understood separately from everything else. Specialization is important but never enough. A good psychologist for example should have concrete knowledge of several psychological fields, they should know biology to understand how the bodies are affected, they should have artistic skills in how to express himself to the client, they should know persuasion etc. On the contrary, what I generally notice in most professionals is limitation to their field mainly due to the label imposed.
Imagine how much the above is true with the human being. We may have general characteristics as the same species but when we go deeper we see how different we are with each other in life and how much this is constantly changing. A label is just an idea which is not even concrete, different people understand it differently and may even describe it differently with words that mean something different to them as they are also labels. After careful consideration I think it’s clear how vague is a label and how vain it is to take it seriously.
Lastly, in terms of ideological ideas, labeling for me is the most destructive reason for the division between people. Most are stood behind an ideology, focused on it, limited by it and offensive to anyone not in agreement with it. They also label the latter with a negative label. This way altogether they explain life in a very specific and stranded way not leaving any chance for influx of a new idea that would help their understanding to become more realistic. I don’t think there is a problem to accept that life here may be a mystery that noone knows everything and it is ok to sometimes say “I don’t know” or “I am not sure.”