Should we use labels to define others or Don’t call me human!


Labels A number of times, when I’ve mentioned that someone is an Empath, they say it’s a label, and they don’t like using labels.

As it goes, I’m ambivalent about if this is really an issue.

The question I have is: How do you define something without a label? If people refused to be categorized then how can they identify who they are, and what they can do?

Fact is, everything is a label. Defining your gender requires a label.

If you specialize in something, it requires a label. For instance, if someone is a medical practitioner, you would call them a ‘doctor’, which is a label. They would hardly say, don’t call me ‘doctor’ because you’re labelling me. At least you would hope they wouldn’t as you want to know who is a doctor so you would know who to see if you have health issues.

Race, abilities, body type, hobbies, professions, skills and everything requires some kind of definition and like it or not, we use labels all the time because no one would have a clue what we’re talking about unless we use some agreed on definition that gives us a point of reference.

If someone has the signs and traits of an Empath, it is easier to say, you may be an Empath than go into the dozens of abilities they may have, probably losing them about a third of the way in. I feel labels are fine.

The thing I feel should be avoided is stereotyping people because of using a label. It’s like saying, you’re a male (labelling) and all men are bastards (stereotyping). (Whereas, there may be some who might not be. 🙂 )

Also, problems arise when they are used as a means to degrade others, however that is more an issue of bullying and attacking rather than defining.

Labelling helps us to define, and gives us an agreed standard on which to discuss a topic on. Next time someone objects to being defined by means of a label, ask them how they would do it then and see if they can come up with a reasonable response.

Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?

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14 thoughts on “Should we use labels to define others or Don’t call me human!

  1. I’m a great fan of living label free!! But…this subject is close to my heart. So i’d like to quickly share my view. I place being an empath into a category of FACT…not limitation. It describes our way of processing energy. It does not stereotype a being into representing ANY other attribute. It simply clarifies HOW we receive and interpret information. Each empath is unique and shares their gifts in special ways. In my experience…an empath is SO happy to know that their is a reason that they are so sensitive. And by understanding that they have empathic abilities…they are able to take greater control over their personal energy and emotions. ♥ I truly honor you Gary!! THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful thoughts!! You are planting the seeds for great healing and awareness!!

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  2. I’m pro-labeling. 🙂 And I think people should lighten up about them, in general. I have many labels, mostly of a serious or mature nature that fits the discussion. 🙂 But… one of them happens to be a “paranerd”. Sometimes a “spirinerd” 🙂 As a teacher, one of the many things I encourage my kids to be is a nerd of at least one thing, but hopefully many. We take pride in it and call each other nerds often.

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  3. You made some awesome points about labels that I hadn’t considered. They are necessary. We wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively without them. But we need to be cautious of the limitations they place on our perceptions and others’ perceptions of us. We must not be defined by them. Some are benign and even benevolent as they carry a positive connotation. But, I think we are all predisposed to apply ALL the characteristics (at least all the ones that we personally attach to a certain label) to that person and that leaves us vulnerable to missing out on what that person had to offer. The song Bitch by Meredith Brooks comes to mind when I think about labels. Some are good and some are bad, but if we allow ourselves to be defined by a single label, we are missing out.
    I have recently, thanks to you, learned about being an empath which prompted my last post. It was of more value than I can ever tell you. I have a large number of the traits of an empath, but there were some that absolutely do not apply to me. In fact, I think it is safe to say that I have some traits of whatever the psychological opposite of an empath is. I am hesitant to embrace the label because I don’t want to be pigeonholed by others.

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    • Thanks you and excellent points.

      Yes, in fact, it can indeed create preconceived notions about how someone is. I feel those who do that are doing to do that anyway.

      I’m so many things that Empath only covers a small section, but it helps when I’m trying to explain something quickly.

      Thank you for your post. I’m glad it’s helped. If you ever have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do what I can to answer them.

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  4. My counsellor would avoid confirming that I had depression for years because she didn’t want me to use it as a reason not to try anymore, and whilst I understood her rationale sometimes confirming or labelling is helpful and reassuring because then at least you know what your dealing with.

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    • What I find interesting is that assumption that you give up because you are depressed. I think people do others a disservice by hiding what information they have from them.

      Until understand what you are dealing with that, you can’t really start to look at healing it. (Unless you stumble across the answers, which can happen.)

      Telling someone they are an Empath for instance, allows them to research it, understand it, and discover there are ways and methods of not only coping, but actually healing their depression, and becoming empowered.

      Thanks for your thoughts. They were invaluable.

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