Just as our clothes have labels that identify the garment, we too give ourselves labels. Quickly, what was the last label you gave yourself? And if you can’t remember chances are you did it automatically, without awareness.
A label can be anything from a disparagement to a judgment, the unhelpful things we say to ourselves when stressed, under pressure or feeling emotional.
The danger of a label is it sticks! So by saying “I’m this or that” creates a unconscious note in your head. Having created the label, it hangs over you, creating a barrier that prevents you from moving beyond it… it keeps you stuck.
Mindfulness helps you bring awareness to the communication you use, the put-downs that come so easily these days and the belittling of your own character. We are the hardest on ourselves when it comes to meeting higher and higher expectations, always playing catch up in 24/7 connected world.
The next time something happens where you would normally judge yourself on, stop! Take a few gentle breaths in and out and become aware of your thoughts. Close your eyes for a moment and just focus on your breath, take a mental step back.
What do you notice?
This simple act of awareness to your reactive thoughts is the first step on the path to removing negative labels that keep you shackled to the past or overwhelmed by the future. The present moment is the only place to be.
By Ian Fox