Why do people feel the need to label themselves?
Personally, labels help me make sense of things. I believe that if you do not believe in labels, that’s fine I respect you and your ideals, but label can help people understand themselves and where they fit. Please, don’t try to take that freedom away from people – practice and preach love my friends.
But I believe it’s more than the organizational part of my brain that is attracted to labels. Labels are only words; therefore, they are malleable. Depending upon the context they are used in and the tone one employs when pronouncing them labels can be construed as positive or negative. So, in essence they are neutral – they are shields rather than swords. They can hide us and they can protect us.
When I say that labels defy our limits of acceptance I am aiming to explain our society’s need for fixing labels upon everything, living, dead, non-existent and material. The words used for sexual and romantic identities are more than labels – they are keys to freedom and understanding for people who have long since felt themselves to be broken. These labels are different because they are not set in stone; they are able to imply different things to different people without upsetting the balance of the universe.
While there are set definitions for sexualities, labels are more fluid much like sexuality itself. This is what tests our human capacity for acceptance; this fluidity is what breaks the bounds of labeling.
Acceptance often seems like a one time deal. Once we accept an idea we expect that to be the end of the process but that’s usually only the beginning. We have to accept people and their personalities every day, every time we meet them. Every day you have to choose to accept your friends, your family – you could easily refuse to do so and take the chance that your relationships may slowly erode because acceptance is fundamental in any interaction. Much like respect, acceptance doesn’t require you to like someone but it does demand your attention.
Accepting someone doesn’t mean you can justify or understand every word they speak or every action they commit.
Wake up world, acceptance is what we need – not love, but respect. Love is intimate, it needs time to take hold, but acceptance can be doled out in portions on a daily basis by everyone to anyone.
We need to push past the idea of accepting people as they are and get to the point where we actually do accept people as there are – no strings attached.