We are not our Labels

I Am A Person Final

I have been touched by reading a multitude of WordPress posts about the attitudes people forge toward life and love in the midst of their suffering.  Not everyone was struggling with the same issue but there were many common unfavorable reactions to being labeled by people who didn’t share their problems.  I wanted to make a point to say hurtful labels can’t define us when they’re based only on the negative.  They don’t do justice to the whole human being.  My weaknesses are a part of me—true—but so are my strengths and everything I’ve ever done right.  Those better parts of me wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t learned from my mistakes or pushed beyond them.  This is why I believe more positive titles better capture who we are.

Whatever you’re struggling with, your diagnosis does not define you either.  It is, at worst, a part of you…just as your joys and inspirations are.  Other people who apply damaging labels to you and treat you accordingly are in ignorance of the whole you.  I have been inspired by the numerous titles people have chosen to wear instead like a crown on their heads paying homage to their victories.  They are some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard and they mean so much more because of the dark place they were forged in to become light.

“Warrior”   “Courageous”   “Survivor”   “Resilient”   “Persevering”   “Fighter”   “Champion”   “Healed”   “Miracle”   “Victorious”   “Unyielding”   “Blessed”   “Alive”   “Precious”   “Loved”

I threw together the image at the beginning of this post in honor of all their stories to inspire myself and others to learn from them.  (Credit to www.drawninblack.com for the eye and www.blogthings.com for the heart)

These words are significant to me because I carry my own scars from my ongoing battle with self-injury.  These marks have always been a source of shame for me even though no one else has seen them.  It hadn’t occurred to me before that they might be a twisted symbol of something good.  I’m not proud of creating them, as they are the biggest mistakes in my life, but I am proud of my determination to overcome the anxiety and depression that eat away at me daily. I am proud of surviving what my family put me through without fully turning my back on Christ.  And I am proud of the several years’ long effort to shed the soul crushing labels my brother pasted on me as I wrestled with cutting myself.  It feels wonderful to trade it all for a crown that reminds me I am stronger for what I’ve been through and how that very truth is worth commemorating every day.

What have your hardest battles proven about you?  When you rip off the label, what does it say underneath?  What do your scars mean to you?

This song might help you figure it out.

7 thoughts on “We are not our Labels

  1. That was wonderfully articulated!
    I personally like to see my scars as medals of honour. Because they remind me not only of what I am capable of (since some are self inflicted) but also what I have been able to endure so far. I haven’t reached the point where I am proud of them, but I am getting there. Great post. Keep it up. All the best! We need more people like you to remove the stigma surrounding mental issues, and to inspire the sufferers. Take Care. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a wonderful post, thank you so much. I do love that song, and it has helped me to refocus anytime I hear it. I think it is inspiring to read so many blogs about others creating a life for themselves in spite of their illness or struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

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