When you share an opinion publicly, you may have people who agree with you, disagree with you, or have absolutely no opinion. But what you may not be aware of is the label people instantly associate you with.
Categorizing people is an evolutionary reaction. But in the recent times, I feel that it has gone a little too far. And we’re all guilty of it.
What’s wrong with labeling?
Labeling assumes that a person’s identity is fixed and doesn’t consider a possibility for change. It becomes prominent when we discuss political, religious and social beliefs. By ignoring the context of situations and blindly making judgments on groups of people or even just an individual, we discredit them of their life journey.
Labels are intellectually lazy ways that people assert they know you without knowing you.Neil deGrasse Tyson
Most of the opinions expressed on social media are because of limited knowledge or personal experiences. We are free to accept, question, oppose, or ignore them.
But the problem is when we start labeling people for holding an opposing view. We do this as a result of blatant prejudice, ignorance, entitlement, or because we’re frustrated and stressed.
We must understand that labeling will never allow us to have an open mind. It will force us to remain comfortable in a bubble, making us incapable of questioning our own beliefs. And not to mention that the label we give ourselves can become a barrier to our growth.
What can we do about it?
Well, none of us are perfect. I’d go one step further and say that we’re all hypocrites.
Instead of stamping a label on someone to justify our refusal to understand where they are coming from, we must try to have an open, honest conversation. If we still find their opinion unconvincing, we’re free to disagree. Remember, we only disagree with a person’s opinion. So, labeling their entire personality based on a single aspect of their thinking isn’t a wise idea.
The world isn’t binary. Everything isn’t black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it’s not a switch, it’s a dial. And it’s not even a dial you can get your hands on; it turns without your permission or approval.Jeff Garvin
Labeling can make us feel more superior, but that’s not a good habit to get into. We must try to be flexible with our perceptions about others and not hold rigid binaries.
After all, the human mind is complex, and we’re all predictably irrational.
4 thoughts on “The problem with labeling people”
Labels can work in another way too.. some people (like me xD) use it as a baseline to constantly upgrade as more information seeps in. I guess the difference is down to what you are saying – keeping an open mind at all times versus saying the label is the de facto truth. There is no absolute truth after all .. nicely put across
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