Label Jars, Not People


     People are social animals. Perhaps that explains our need to feel included, to be part of a group. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you like playing chess you might meet with others who play chess, if you love art you sometimes hang out with others who love art.

     But be careful not to label others, it defines and limits them in your mind.  Joe is a Republican. So you take for granted his position on abortion, on the size of government, on a whole range of issues. But people are more complicated than that. Each person is a unique universe of interests and possibilities. When you describe yourself, or others, you should  mention interests,  passions, characteristics. ‘He plays chess’ – not – ‘He is a chess player’.

Remember those lovely Venn diagrams from school?  

venn diagram

Just three labels and you’ve excluded most of the world!

  Labeling yourself or others seems just a convenience.  but the consequences can be serious.  I caution you against being labeled an environmentalist, a chess player, a Republican. Groups by their nature exhibit two sides, inclusive and exclusive. If you are not in a particular group, you are outside of it. Expecting a certain response because of how you categorize someone makes you more likely to get it.  Label yourself and you’re more likely to act in a rote way instead of how you might act naturally.

     The labels we use narrow our areas of commonality. Don’t limit people with labels!


3 Responses to Label Jars, Not People

  1. Zut Moon says:

    Exactly … I hate American Politics but I do not apply the same label to Americans. I like most Americans.. even though some seem to come from West Virginia but none from East Virginia.

    Everyone is different ..all 35 billion or so of us on this planet. It’s humanity towards people, humanity towards animals and love of nature that makes us worthy to be alive.

    Now, as for politicians …. well, most politicians …

  2. Rudyinparis says:

    Nice Venn diagram!

    aka Rebecca McGee

  3. CTK1 says:

    This is all I am talking about!

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