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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

Have You Ever Been Labelled?

I have been labelled.

From a young age, even before I knew the word's meaning, I was labelled "proud".


It hurt. Especially since people used the word disdainfully, I surmised there was something dirty about me that I couldn't remove.


Then I grew up, learnt what it meant, laughed, and brushed it off. Was I proud? Very well then, I shall continue to be, I thought.


I think being labelled hurt me a lot, and I lived the rest of my life consciously trying not to be proud, with little success.


However, sometimes labels stick on for life, and they become a part of your definition, forever changing social interactions.


Some of the other labels I have acquired over the years are "padaku", "topper", "kind", "rude", "blunt", "hot-tempered", "fat", "hairy".


Mostly, the labels have been negative with very few positive ones. It got me thinking. Do we ever think about the impact of our labelling others, especially children?


A couple of years ago, I read this "biography" by a Pastor's daughter, KimKim Andrews. The minute I closed the book, I knew I had found someone who had walked in my shoes and lived a somewhat similar life to me.


We had both grown up in church with "aunties" that never hesitated to talk about the kids in Sunday school. However, when I grew up, I realized certain character traits marked us out for life. It's almost like having to live with a personality you can't help but have. Some children are "rude", some "don't care", some are "sweet", some are "troubled".


We all acquire these labels. But the worst happens when society won't allow us to shed the labels and grow.


I realized this fixation is also true at the workplace.


I have heard stories from my dad of people who had to resign because of an error made at work (one of the biggest reasons I never wanted to join the corporate sector) and it got me thinking about labels.


The corporate world isn't kind to mistakes as mistakes cost money. And it's just as hard on the person who make the errors.


Why don't we rip off some of those labels we apply to others and give them a chance to prove us wrong?


While labelling people may also work positively, I think it takes maturity to know that everyone is in a different stage of life, and it's our job to help others grow.


I've seen people change.


The labels previously applied to them wouldn't stick now. Hence, I hope the next generation will treat each other with more kindness than the present one.


I also hope we recognize that insincerity, laziness, hauteur, boastfulness are signs of immaturity and a lack of development somewhere.


So, as fellow travellers in life's journey, let's help each other out instead of slapping on a label and moving on.




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29 août 2021

Labels are not always derogatory. We do gather some pleasant ones that we'd like to hold on to or live up to. Perhaps we could change the way we view others and give each other some worthwhile labels. When you wear dark glasses the whole world appears dark!

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