Would you like to tag yourself here?
It’s 2021, and anyone who doesn’t live under a rock will tell you that we perceive ourselves as a ‘moralistic society’. As this (self-proclaimed) ‘self–righteous’ community, we constantly have long debates about gender equality and feminism, go on marches providing our allegiance and support to the LBGT group, voice our opinions over the terror attacks that have shaken up the world in the recent years, have long chats about the prevalence of racism and...well, the list goes on. We talk about acceptance, peace, love, tolerance and being unbiased on a daily; and yet, when it comes to practicing these at a grass-root level, these words begin to lose all meaning.
How many of us actually refrain from being critical (or worse, judgmental) when interacting with people on an everyday basis - be it a friend, a family member, a colleague, or just a stranger you met at a party?
We can’t deny it. It doesn’t take us even a second to spot someone’s ‘blemish’ and form an opinion about them - ‘she is not pretty’, ‘he is incompetent’, ‘she is emotional’, ‘he loses his temper all the time’. At the same time, we’re also guilty of having committed the same mistake that we accuse others of doing - labeling, discriminating, being intolerant and unaccepting - donning the hat of Judgy Judgson of Judgville, so as to speak.
Now, here’s the plot twist. We don’t only do this to others, we put these tags on ourselves too. I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve had my share of labels - some were graciously given to me by others, but most of them were self-generated. The worst thing about passing these so-called ‘innocent judgments’ is that it suddenly makes the person conscious of all these issues they’ve been facing and thus makes the problem more ‘real and permanent’.
The molehill has already become the mountain.
Now, here’s the catch. We fail to realize that we are so much more than just the label. It’s like saying, just because I breathe, I become a ‘breather’. But here’s the thing. I am not only a ‘breather’, I am so many more things than that. As human beings, we’ve continuously been in a state of flux - evolving every single day, even though it might not be very apparent. So how can we just assume that these labels are so ‘real and permanent’ when - let’s face it - we ourselves are not?
So now, we have a problem to deal with.
To begin with, do we go on complaining about it till it magically disappears or do we actually become proactive and do something about it? (Please choose the latter). If you chose the second option, here’s another question for you - How do we liberate ourselves from these labels?
It’s true that we can’t really control what the rest of the world tags us with (can’t really expect 10 billion people to understand and be empathetic, although one can hope); but what we can control is how we respond to these tags.
The answer here is quite straightforward: we choose to un-tag yourself.
You may think it’s easier said than done. But it’s really as simple as that (but at the same time, it’s not). While it’s true that un-tagging comes with some amount of practice, it’s not impossible if you do it consciously enough. Some ways to un-tag yourself include actually talking back to the judgmental comment (not in a ruthless aggressive way) but by actually rationalizing about how we are constantly changing and that label does not define who you truly are. Or you can also try making a joke. Life is so much better when you have something to laugh about, isn’t it?
But probably the most liberating thing to do would be to accept these ‘quirks’ wholly and completely without any judgement (so what if I move too much while talking, I see you sitting still, you don’t see me complaining, do you?). All I want to say is that it’s always going to be a choice whether you take these tags seriously or not.
But you can choose to un-tag yourself.
Always and forever.