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Personal Traits: Avoid Labels

Trait Labels

We put a lot of value on what others think of us–or more often–what we think others might think of us. This is one of those things I’m personally working on. My journey is mine. What others think of me doesn’t matter. (At least it shouldn’t matter.) My goal is to simply value myself and to allow negative labels I’ve put on myself (or allowed others to tag me with) to dissipate.

I was labeled as shy when I was a kid. I was shy. Hearing others say it, however, grounded me into this trait. I’m shy. Others believe I’m shy. Others see me as shy. Yes, I am shy. (That was me as a child. If you’ve seen the awareness reels I started to create this year you know that I’m no longer timid.) 

It can be difficult to be something different when we know someone else has branded us a certain way, can’t it? 

Through my current brain retraining journey, I am working on changing myself. While I’ve lost the shy trait years ago, others have evolved. My conscious effort is to become more joyful, peaceful, healthy, and energetic. My effort is to increase light (that I let in and that I let shine). 

Ah-ha Moments: Labels

I’ve been excited about my new brain rewiring effort this past year. Brain rewiring. Does that sound heavy? I like traveling in directions that bring more sunshine into my life, and this brain rewiring journey is doing just that. More to come on this topic in upcoming posts. It’s a process, so sharing it will be a process as well. 

It’s fun to recognize new ways to grow and to increase light. I love those ah-ha moments that can evolve into growth in connection and positivity. 

Through my brain retraining, and through books and YouTube videos I’m drawn to, the power our thoughts have seems so clear (and almost commonsense) to me now. The more fuel we give anything, the more power it has, right? 

Reading various posts, listening to various parents, listening to various kids, and hearing the voices in my own head, I had a recent moment of such clarity recently: the power of labels.

The Brain Believes What We Tell It

What we tell ourselves, our brains believe. And what our brain believes, our body follows. How can we change sleep patterns if we keep telling ourselves, “I’m a poor sleeper”?  How can we be a more positive person if we eagerly join in on negative conversations? 

Choices. Focus. Labels.

How can we be happy if we look towards opportunities to grumble? 
It’s not always easy, especially when initially trying to get a wheel to change directions, but it is possible. 

When you wake up in the morning, smile and congratulate your body for a great night’s sleep. Whether you did or not, tell your brain you slept well and get on with your day. It may be a little fake to start, but let your brain believe you are a good sleeper. Your body will appreciate when it starts listen.

Smile more. Whether you feel like it or not, stretch those lips up and out. It might only last for a brief second, but be conscious of putting more effort into the simplicity of increased daily smiles.

Kids: Shine Their Light

I don’t know if there is a parent on earth that hasn’t given their child a less than positive label in one way or another, at one time or another. But what’s the impact?

“You’re such a picky eater,” just helps solidify this trait. The brain believes it. The body follows. The brain is listening. The more we tell ourselves or someone else something, the stronger those neural connections become in the brain, and the stronger this trait becomes. (“I hear you. I’m a picky eater. I’m not supposed to want to try new foods.”)


“You’re so grumpy in the morning.”

“You’re so loud!.”

“You’re so messy.”

How many negative labels have we all heard ourselves put on our kids (or ourselves)? And how many are completely true? We say things out of frustration. We highlight what is in bold print for us at the moment. Chances are, these are only true in our minds at the moment. By saying things out loud, however, and by repeating them, we embed the belief that these labels are true. 

Label Changing Practice

It takes practice, but the more aware we become of how we speak to ourselves and to others, the easier it becomes to put emphasis on the positive aspects.

The more aware you become of the traits you fertilize, the easier it becomes to feed the positive aspects that benefit growth. 

Instead of “You’re so grumpy,” offer a, “Good morning happy girl!” She doesn’t need to be bright and cheerful for you to say this, but what if your daughter hears this statement every single morning? Her brain just might start to believe that she is happy in the morning, and her demeanor just might eventually follow suit. 

Instead of, “You’re so loud!” give attention to the times when behavior is more appropriate. “Thank you for being respectful with an indoor voice.”   

Instead of, “You’re so messy,” focus on any opportunity you can to highlight positive aspects. “I see that you put your toys away. You’re so responsible.”

“You are so courteous.”

“That was kind of you!”

“That was very brave of you.”

Each Moment is a New One

Change takes practice. We’re all a work in progress. Positive self talk and placing attention on others’ positive traits takes practice–but it’s worth the effort. 

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