If you were are asked to finish the statement : ” I am a……”, how would you describe yourself? I used to complete this sentence with answers like – a woman, a daughter, a wife, a writer, a Christian, an Indian. It was only recently that I’ve started going beyond the labels.
You know, when I think about who I am, it’s a jumble of many things. Sometimes, it’s my job title, sometimes it’s the roles I play in relationships, and other times it’s the hobbies I love. But, truth be told, those titles only scratch the surface of the intricate reality that makes up who I am. These labels I wear are like costumes that I can change at will, but they don’t define my true essence.
Going Beyond The Labels
To let go of these labels and find inner peace, I follow a three-step process:
Step 1: Embrace stillness.
I sit quietly and delve into my inner self, facing my fears and anxieties head-on. As I stay still and observe my thoughts and emotions, the layers of labels I’ve accumulated over the years start to peel away. It’s not an easy process, as my inner demons may rear their heads, but with time, I discover a deeper self that defies all labels and remains calm, even in the face of life’s challenges.
Step 2: Become the experiencer, not the experience.
I realize that my true essence is not the fixed labels I’ve assigned to myself, but the capacity to experience life. By reframing my self-statements to “I am one who calls myself…” I create a healthy detachment from both positive and negative labels, placing a layer of language between my core self and the identities I wear.
You are tangled up in others and have forgotten what your heart once knew.Sant Kabir
Step 3: Practice truth in labeling.
The power of labels lies not in their nature but in our belief in them. Learning to release identities without compromising our essential selves offers a security unparalleled by fame, power, or other external validations.
By stilling our being, embracing the role of the experiencer, and treating labels as interchangeable costumes, we anchor ourselves amid life’s flux. Whether facing loss or gain, pain or pleasure, fame or disrepute, these steps enable us to remain anchored in our authentic selves.
In moments when external judgments tangle our perception, or when labels are stripped away, it’s crucial to remember the essence of the poet William Stafford‘s inquiry: “Who are you really, wanderer?”
The process of going beyond labels has really helped me to delve further into my true self and move further along my healing journey.
This is Day 8 of My 66-day Journey of Healing Through Writing and Sharing
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