I like to tell my friends, “Just because I give you advice, it doesn’t mean I know more than you, it just means I’ve done and read more stupid things.” They normally laugh and say some comment about me being ‘The Psychologist’. I have to warn them, that I’m no Psychologist yet and that they shouldn’t call me that, just in case the Psychological Powers that be arrest me and take away a license that I don’t even have. It’s just how people make sense of the world- they add labels.
So a friend of mine seemed to have had his knickers all up in knots the other day about his “relationship”. His problem was that he didn’t know what to call it. Was it like a boyfriend and girlfriend type thing, friends with benefits, dating? He seemed really concerned, so I told him to let it play out and enjoy it for what it is, because not everything in life deserves a label.
Howard Becker, a Sociologist, who formulated the Labeling Theory would have supported my answer. He theorized that labeling usually have negative effects. In his study, poor young men were usually labelled as deviant and he claimed that giving them this label, made them strive to be deviants- something he called the self fulfilling prophecy. He also said that those not labeled deviants would often be stereotyped- which would often lead to societal rejection or some sort of discrimination.
Labeling forces people and things into a box and if they don’t fully fit the criteria then they become anxious, scared, feel like an anomaly or try to fit the label. I tend to look at Silk products, the Soy Milk, Rice Milk, Almond Milk etc, and each time I see the label, a weird picture pops up in my mind. I imagine the Mommy Almonds telling the little “Almondlets” [just made that up ;)] to drink from her mammary glands, so one day they can be big and strong. Blame my overactive imagination, but isn’t milk a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals? Exactly, so it isn’t logical for the treated and partially decomposed, polished juices from plants to be called same. Think about it… another problem with labeling!
However, these negatives are attributed because we tend to label things negatively. What if we applied positive labels?
There is a New Age Theory about Indigo Children, find out if you or your child could be one of them in this quiz…
Wow! According to the quiz and many others that I’ve done, I am and Indigo Child. The effects of positive labeling are good, because the description of Indigo Children are that they are brilliant, may be socially awkward, sensitive to certain environmental stimuli including food, they may be rebellious, mischievous or misunderstood. To me they described Gretchen and Dennis the Menace. Hearing that your brilliant child who happens to be very rude is some celestial being sent to Earth for a special purpose seems to be of comfort to many parents.
His pranks and menacing ways are no longer seen that way, they are now viewed as projections or manifestations of a beautiful mind, which may be the next Einstein! It goes on further to tell parents of these heavenly beings how to treat these children, ( lots of love and support) and how to feed them (low sugar diets free from trans fats and excess dairy etc). Seems like something a doctor or Psychologist would tell a parent of any hyperactive child or one who seems defiant.
Well, if a positive label can be placed on kids who would be otherwise labelled as rude, sensitive, misunderstood etc, and cause their parents and those around them to treat them better, I’m all for it. Who knows, maybe it was a lack of attention, love, care and a proper diet which adversely impacted their behavior in the first place.
Think about it, I may be a cynic with regards to this theory, but if we must label, make it be for the better, a way that will be beneficial to most. As you can see, there is power in words and the labels given to people and things influence the way they are treated.
Be kind ❤