Shedding Labels

You want to scare people in a virtually harmless way?

Refuse to be labeled.

When you do that by how you live, you send them into the ambiguity abyss in how they structure a predictable world around themselves.

It’s a quiet rebellion to champion when you know you must live on your own terms not because you’re selfish, but because you’re the opposite – so clear about your place in the world as an active participant impacting outcomes around you – you know you must live in truth with yourself.

Plenty of people don’t function that way. They are true to the group – whatever group that is on any given day – for the mere fact that’s how they build meaning and purpose. Those of us who live true to self understand meaning and purpose lives inside of us…not outside of us.

It’s a moral dilemma for many torn between fitting in to keep peace and just being yourself with wild abandon completely aware by being yourself you shake status quo in useful ways. You live your life as an unintentional reminder to others that, label or not, you will be you.

As part of my personal midlife transition (which has landed in a place I’m glad to equate to a contentment you could find in, say, a peaceful lovely meadow), I spoke with someone trying to convince me I care too much about what others think. One victory as a mature human being the willingness to allow a person space to not know you if they haven’t figured it out by now.

The struggle I’ve faced sometimes is in finding meaningful belonging…that allows me space to maintain my commitment to my own authenticity.

People pleasing was a game of the distant past. That’s years behind me and many other midlife transitioners now. We played, we learned, and are on to the next thing.

Any tears I’ve shed in walking this belonging journey are about the yearning to balance the way the world around me actually works with the way I know it can and have lived when I felt least at the mercy of those fighting to maintain status quo.

I think that’s a misunderstood aspect in some of us (ENFP/INFP anyone?). I don’t much care if I’m liked and pacified with membership in a group. Fear of missing out or FOMO we hear so much about is not a sore spot for me. I’ll appreciate you because you’re here and champion your right to feel how you feel and live your life the best way for you. I’ll assume best intent of you and ask the same of you if we’re in a relationship of any kind. My nature my whole life has been to stand strong for the underdog and support those yearning to find voice. People have worth just because they’re here.

I merely want to be known and savor a sense of belonging that speaks to meaning I value.

It’s very different from worrying about what others think of you. Those who work like me know we’re independent-minded eager to use our communication skills for good in fierce desire to protect hearts around us – including our own – with whatever inner resolve it takes to shed labels and give ourselves elbow room to just be whoever it is we are.


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