As creatives, we are often our own worst enemies. It’s far too easy to become stuck, believing the labels others have given us.
These labels, and the self-limiting beliefs we attach to them, can be difficult to change. The truth is that if we want to be the best versions of ourselves possible, we must find a way to let go of who others think we are and start embracing our creativity.
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Because you are creative, regardless of what you may have been told or have come to believe.
I had my own magic show in second grade, I was a break-dancer in junior high, and performed stand-up comedy.
This was not considered normal behavior in the town I grew up in. I was quickly labeled as ‘weird’ or ‘different’. As soon as I was old enough to understand this, I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction.
Suddenly ‘normal’ was the goal. I fell into the same trap so many of us are struggling to get out of. I embraced the labels given to me and this remains one of the few regrets I carry with me today.
But you know what’s great about labels? They don’t have to define us. We can learn to let go of them and be so much more than even we can imagine.
Normal is Boring
Being told that we aren’t artists or believing we are so practical that it’s impossible to switch it off. Sometimes we believe it’s too hard for us to do or even that we aren’t worth the effort it takes.
We need to stop beliefs like these in their tracks before they become toxic to our dreams, aspirations, and what we want most for ourselves.
Our brains are incredibly tuned into labels. When we think about ourselves in a certain way, our minds do their best to make those thoughts become our lived reality.
This is the very definition of a double-edged sword.Labels that limit us wreak havoc on our lives. Click To Tweet
Labels that limit us wreak havoc on our lives. The nourishing labels we give ourselves free us from the self-imposed boundaries we have created around what we’ve internalized from those who never saw us for who we are in the first place.
Openly creative people with big ideas are often labeled as ‘weird’. But what is ‘weird’? If it’s the opposite of normal, then we must understand what that means for us.
Being normal for me was all about trying my best to be liked. I wanted to fit in, to be popular. Unfortunately for me, it would be some time before I realized how much of a mistake this was.
I wish I could show young people that the labels we invent for ourselves have an impact on what we believe is possible in our lives.
They have a massive influence on us, whether we like it or not.
It’s a Trap!
A few years ago, I was leaving my house for a morning run when out of nowhere I collapsed. I couldn’t see straight or move without throwing up. I had no idea what was wrong with me, and it wasn’t long before I was firmly gripped by terror and fear.
My girlfriend (now wife) called the hospital only to be told they suspected I was about to have an aneurysm. What I didn’t know at that moment was that I was suffering from a rare viral infection of the inner ear.
Not unheard of, but my case was particularly severe.
After the doctors had run their tests, I was told that my dizziness may never go away and there was the possibility I would be sick for the rest of my life.
Now when I say dizzy, I’m not talking about the lightheadedness you get from standing up too quickly. This was the kind of buzz you get after far too much to drink.
At that moment I saw a different future. Would I ever drive again? I couldn’t even walk without falling over. What about the things I love to do?
My vision was filled with a lifetime of sickness and impairment. I believed what the doctor was telling me, accepting it without question.
I recovered. It took many months and was far from easy.
With some perspective, I was struck by how quickly I let myself believe that the doctor was right and my life as I knew it was over.
As I got better, I’d sometimes feel dizzy when I shook my head. Occasionally I’d lose my balance if I moved too quickly. Every time this happened, I would be gripped with panic. I believed what the doctors had told me, convinced I’d be a sick person forever.
It was an insane amount of work to get better. Overcoming the ‘sick person’ label given to me became one of the most important and arduous journeys of my life. It was years before I got back to what I thought of as myself.
The reason I say this is I am wondering what limiting beliefs and labels you have taken on board without noticing? What has been said to you that isn’t true or comes from a place of malice and jealousy?
If you’re anything like me, probably more than a few. The point is that I got better, even though it was a long process.
What I have learned, and what I would like for you to take away, is that accepting the wrong labels can be a pivot towards a debilitating life filled with resentment, anger, and regret.
I encourage you to be aggressive about understanding the labels you give to yourself and to let go of the ones that no longer serve you.
Just know that simple as this may be, it is far from easy.
Labels matter so choose your labels and choose wisely. You can create the life you want for yourself; you just need to do whatever you can to program your brain to work for and not against you.
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