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Minus The Label I'm Just a Person: The Joy of Discovery

Do you think in labels?

So often, people innocently assign labels to others and to themselves. In an article I read recently, the mother of a lovely little girl was saying how much her biracial daughter was loved by her and her husband. It was an interesting article, which could have been just as compelling minus the "biracial" label. How much more interesting it would have been if the mother simply referred to her lovely daughter as her lovely daughter. When her lovely daughter is no longer a toddler, will this lovely daughter appreciate the "biracial" label? Or will she simply want to be her parent's daughter?

It's hard for me to understand the relevance of label assignment, whether given by another person or self proclaimed. Why must so many of us feel like we need to define ourselves by our profession, our marital status, or even our generation? It's fun to get to know someone by learning about what interests he or she has, rather than having that person self-

inflict a label. I like it when you force me to get to know you. Allow me to ask questions. Let me relish in the joy of discovery. Surely we don't need to start conversations with "I'm a doctor," or "I own a shop in town," or "I'm a dancer." The fun of getting to know someone is enhanced by the thrill of discovery. Some of the most interesting conversations occur when we find we have something in common with our conversation partner.

At times, it seems like we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of defining ourselves by "what we do" instead of "who we are." I like to do a lot of things and I'm very fortunate in that I count my work among the things I enjoy doing. My profession is just one of the things I like to do. I also enjoy playing with my grandchildren, cooking, sewing, working with my daughter, trying different restaurants, walking, reading. . .the list goes on. I'm not special. I'm just like all of you. What I do at any given time is just a part of who I am. When you must identify me in order to get my attention, just use my name. No other labels are needed.

Take an active part in eliminating labels from your conversations and your thoughts. Be aware of what you are reading and listen to conversations that others are having. Listen to your own conversations and you'll become more aware of labels. You'll start to catch yourself--in your words and in your thoughts.

After all, we're all people.


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