By Holly Russel, Regular Contributor July 26, 2015
Let’s talk about labels. At some point in our lives, we’ve all been labeled. Sometimes those labels are flattering, and sometimes, well, they can be downright destructive.
We all know the danger of putting stock into the labels other people assign us. But what about the labels we give ourselves?
If the way to become the person you want to be is to start acting like them, then claiming your label is the first step in the process.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but until recently I’ve never claimed that label as my own. When people asked what I do for a living I’d say, “Oh, I work in marketing,” or, “I work for a pet health company.” Calling myself a writer – even though the word itself is literally in my job title – felt like claiming something larger than I am, bigger than what I’m doing.
And it is. And, that’s exactly why I needed to claim it.
image via lifeslittleinspirations.com
Calling myself a writer, again and again, has empowered me to actually take the risk to sit down and write something other than marketing copy. Using that label has allowed me to both validate who I am and what I’m doing now, as well as to own who I want to be in the future. And since I’ve gotten comfortable presenting myself to the world as a writer, guess what? I’ve gotten a handful of my work published.
What labels can you claim as your own to push yourself closer to the person you want to become?
Maybe you’re just starting to take up running and your goal is to eventually complete a 5K. Start calling yourself a runner. Maybe you love taking pictures and secretly dream of doing that for a living. Start calling yourself a photographer. Get comfortable with owning what you want (and who you already are!) and wear that label like a badge of honor.
Words are powerful, and you can use that power to define yourself on your terms, according to your dreams. So often we wait for validation from some external source before we claim the labels we want. We think things like, “I’m not a real runner because I can’t run a mile yet,” and we verbally distance ourselves from our goal because we feel we’re not good enough. But we all have to start somewhere, and even an Olympic marathoner had to work for that first mile at some point in her life. Bottom line: if you’re running, you’re a “real” runner.
Every day we are getting closer to becoming the people we want to be – don’t shy away from being that person right now. You know what you want. It’s time to own it, work it, and tell it to the world!
How do you label yourself? What new label should you be embracing? Tell us below!
Holly Russel has a BA in Journalism from New York University. She’s a Senior Marketing Copywriter for a pet health company and counts dogs among her favorite things on the planet- along with tacos, books, social media, and the City of New York. When she makes it out from behind the computer screen, Holly spends her time practicing yoga, kayaking, and indoor cycling. She lives and writes in Wilmington, NC.
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