Sometimes we may find that we’re wearing labels given to us by people who couldn’t see our light and our spirit because they couldn’t see their own. Perhaps they were too engulfed in their own pain to even be able to love themselves let alone others.
We can know we are taking these labels to heart if we find that we have adopted them and are letting them interfere with our life. It’s like we put on a shoe that never really fit, but we decided to wear it anyway simply because someone gave it to us.
An ill-fitting shoe, however, is uncomfortable and can even cause serious pain. Anyone who has ever had foot pain knows how important it is to have comfortable footwear. These improper labels, much like a poorly suited shoe, can be changed.
We may have been wearing these labels as if they define who we are, when in fact they are more indicative of the unhappy person couldn’t see their own light and chose to spread their unhappiness to us. Just as we would never put our children in rigid, inflexible, too tight shoes, it is important that we make sure that our shoes, or how we see ourselves and how we treat ourselves is the right fit.
Some examples of labels we may have taken on and worn too long include the following:
-I’m unworthy; I can’t make mistakes; I’m unlovable; I need to try harder; I’m unattractive; I’m not smart; I’m not gifted; I’m not talented; I’m not strong enough; I’m incompetent; I’m shameful; I’m not good enough; I’m not okay if I’m vulnerable or afraid; If only I were: richer, stronger, better looking, more able, had a better job, etc., etc.
The list can go on and on because these labels are all about a perceived lack. Someone judged us as lacking and placed conditions on their acceptance of us and we may have chosen to take it to heart and live by these labels as if they were rules or guidelines for how we should behave and live our lives.
When the discomfort gets too great, when we realize how we’ve hurt ourselves by measuring ourselves by impossible standards, we then have a choice. We can continue wearing an ill-fitting shoe, or we can get new ones. Outdated labels are like old shoes. Sometimes we need to give away or even throw away old shoes.
Choose for yourself a new shoe. What quality does this shoe represent for you now? Make sure it’s comfortable and you find it attractive. Step into your new shoes. Walk in them. Stand confidently.
Let others see you in your new shoes. Wear them often. They are yours to keep.
Remember, you may try on another pair at any time.