Have you noticed in the media people are categorised and labelled to be someone or something? This could be in the current covid pandemic: ‘shielder’, ‘clinically vulnerable person’, or ‘keyworker’ these are just a few examples but there are plenty out there that are interchangeable and can cause confusion.

Other labels you may see in social media is ‘influencer’ or ‘millennial’ all can create misconceptions and placing people in narrow minded boxes.

Why are labels important?

Labels can give you a sense of belonging and purpose, you can stand proud in front of people and say who you are. Currently with lockdown and less interaction it’s nice to be part of a group of likeminded people online and this can be useful in your own wellbeing and mental health.

When are labels toxic?

Labels can become toxic when you feel you have to comply with society standards and people judge you on false opinion. If you take the social media Influencer example, young people in front of a camera each day with thousands or even millions of followers. If they make a wrong step they can be judged by their peers instantly in the messaging. The ability to remain anonymous on some social media platforms can create hate and offence within a few words.

Ditch the labels?

In some sense this could be a good idea, it’s important to see an individual as a person with thoughts, feelings, anxieties and quirks. Maybe it’s a good idea to get to know the person before you pigeon hole them into a defined label.

Acceptance that you are an individual in this big world and ditching the labels can do wonders for your mental health. Remember you don’t have to live up to expectations of others. It’s important to navigate your own path.