When I think of a tag, what comes to mind is a squared thick paper hanging off the collar of a shirt or the strap of a bag. I never relate it to a person. I have, however, come to realise that everyone is wearing some kind of tags with different inscriptions written on them.
Many of these inscriptions define who we are; some describe our qualities, while some define our roles: joker, housewife, foodie, razz, rigid, nerd. These tags cast us in a role that informs almost every choice we make — even our appearance and the way we speak, laugh, sit and eat. Everything is defining.
Many people suffer enormously from negative tags attached to them; dumb, weak, unconfrontational, slutty, talkative, boring, reckless. The most unfortunate situation is when we let these negative tags get to us –
unconsciously wearing it like a badge.
Truly, using a name tag helps us navigate dozens of complex interactions and it is a crucial part of understanding the world and how we fit into it. While it may be easy for people to tag us based on their preconceived notions or firsthand experience, we must ensure that the set of qualities that are our personal-inner- core, remains intact.
There is the possibility that people meet this core part of us when they get closer; that’s when you hear phrases like; “And he is not that bad o. You just have to get know to him”. Still, this genuine inner us still gets far less play than our social self.
When the tags attached to us do not align with our true self, we start to feel disconnected. Clearly, negative self-definitions are torturous. Once, I had thought myself to be obtuse, because a classmate had called me that. Kai! I carried this tag for a long time until I realised that was not me.
I am quick to understand and I always bring something valuable to the table. The only force that gave me the sense to yank off this negative tag was the fact that my inner self questioned it so much and would not accept it.
Rewriting an uncomfortable tag that does not define our person is a mindset thing. If we can figure out the tag with which we have defined ourselves, and then determine the truth or falsehood of that definition, we can begin to free ourselves from a world of torture.
We are often to blame for the tags that people attach to us because they pick this from our narratives. We may tell ourselves, I am so clumsy, I can never get anything right. We unconsciously feed this to people’s perception of us.
People will only take the story (even though it is not our reality) that we give them and define us with it. Rewriting these negative tags is so important to defining and accepting our uniqueness and authenticity.
We have so many descriptions and these often make us be different people at different times. If we persist in deeply inquiring into the truth of who we are, we’ll eventually see that we do not fit completely into any one role. We’ll see that we contain multitudes. This can be a bit problematic and make us feel uncomfortable—the goal is aligning these identities with our inner person. This is the only way we can be true to ourselves. The moment I examined the tag obtuse and saw it to be a lie, I yanked it off. Just as we let go of erroneous thoughts like “the world is flat”, you can question and rid off negative definitions.
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