The Benefit of a Label

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Last week, in a moment of deep concentration, I had been greeted by a superior and failed to come off as “friendly.” Sure I hadn’t done anything wrong per say, but it was a thing to be discussed. A place of necessary improvement.

Sitting at my desk, exhausted, frustrated and in need of distraction, I took a stupid quiz.

Out of all the worldly elements, I was defined as Fire. Obviously. Not a shocker.

I sent the quiz to another colleague who also came back Fire. We lamented on the the ways in which we were similar – struggled to accept blame, stubborn, likes to lead. All of a sudden,  my “unfriendliness” was excusable. Because I was Fire. Duh.

Within the past few months I’d: looked up my star chart, figured out which disney princess I most related to, and taken a quiz to see  which Hogwarts House I was part of. I knew I was an INFP who acted like an ENFJ. And my aura was purple.

All of these labels successfully identified my personhood, and made my imperfections understandable. As though the label made it acceptable to be human.

The problem is, we young adults must maintain our competitive edge.

We have to be perfect, well rounded, consistently filtered on our Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and online portfolio. We have to know how to build an online portfolio, but also can’t spend too much time on electronics. We need to be outdoorsy but without risking wrinkles. We have to get along with others, but know how to work alone. We have to take the initiative but not assert too loudly. We need to know our place, but blaze a trail simultaneously. We need to understand that not everyone will like us, but also everyone should … because otherwise you end up in hot water.

The end result – an epidemic of labels. Far beyond whether you were Gay, Straight, Fluid; What’s your ethnicity; Your cultural background; Religion.

You no longer could get by on your horoscope alone; you needed to know your moon sign. And you needed to understand which was dominant. You couldn’t just be Christian – but do you believe in tarot cards? Crystals? What type of new-age yogi are you? Are you a part of the wellness community? Will you be attending shaman school? We were utilizing massive identifiers to look deep into our souls and configure the nuances, without the help of a trained psychologist. Woody Allen had no place here. We all knew his label.

Rather, what does your psychic say is happening?

In a world that demands competitive perfection, we were all just trying to be known. And consequentially accepted. Yes I know that maybe I’m a little too aggressive… sometimes I come off cold.. a lot of the time I’m awkward as heck. But with the right authenticity and self-awareness, my personhood is acceptable. A label and a quiz help with that. I will succumb to this quiz so my peers can recognize that, ultimately, I am Fire, and therefore you can easily understand how my strengths and weaknesses are two sides to the same coin.

And with that recognition, you and I, different though we may be, Earth and Fire, we can now relate to one another. While my fellow Fires, can look at the flaws we share and make peace with them.

 

Categories: Musings & Epiphanies

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