I'm one. You're one.
Quick - look around. They're everywhere.
Hey Millennials, Hipsters and Gen-Xers! Yo Baby Boomers! Do Yuppies still exist?
Hi, my Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Jewish friends. Hello to my African American and Asian American friends. Shouting out to my LGBT pals!
Who did I miss?
I started labeling people in high school. The ra-ra's and the jocks. Burnouts and freaks. Brainiacs and nerds.
By labeling people, it was easier to decide if I would like them or not (usually not) without actually getting to know them. "He's a jock? Probably a cocky asshole." "That burnout? Not worth my time." "Oh yeah, Ms. Brainiac? She's gotta have a chip on her shoulder."
Labeling was in full swing this past presidential election season.
Throw a hashtag on it, and you have a movement. #nevertrump. #feelthepantsuit. #basketofdeplorables.
And now that the election is over, there is so much hatred being thrown around using labels. It's incredibly hurtful. It's soul-sucking and energy-draining.
If I told you that I'm a conservative Gen-X'er, does that mean you know who I am? Wait - I'm really a progressive hipster. Do you know me now? Would you want to get to know me?
What would you think of me if I told you I drank Starbucks coffee?
Just kidding. I drink Dunkin Donuts coffee. What do you think of me now?
A plumber versus a hedge fund manager.
A Stanford grad versus someone who went to a community college.
What's your spontaneous impression of the person?
Labels are hurtful. Labels are inclusive while being exclusive. They're an easy way to judge someone and to hate someone.
A label is the ability to categorize someone, to get a mental picture of them and then decide if you want to be their friend or not, without ever saying one word to them.
I'm going to stop referring to people as a label.
I'm going to stop playing the comparison/judgment game of thinking I know what a person is like by the labels they wear and the labels they carry.
I used to find it much easier to slap a label on someone than actually talking to them and getting to know who they are. I felt better about myself, or so I thought ...until I realized that I actually started to feel worse.
Superior. Inferior. It's a game.
Kierkegaard said, "Once you label me, you negate me."
Hi, my name is Catherine and I'd like to get to know you because you're human. Not because of your label.
©Catherine Borowski 2017
Live a wealthy life.
Catherine Borowski, iPEC trained and