A common trend in society today is exactly that, to be part of a trend. It seems to be ‘the thing’ to want to have a label so that we can talk about ourselves in a way which makes others understand our issues and therefore the choices we make. But does labeling ourselves become a self-fulling prophecy and should we seek to rid ourselves of our own self-inflicted burdens?
For a smoker to stop smoking permanently, they need to fully believe that they are no longer a smoker and therefore sucking on a stick of nicotine and tobacco seems completely out of character. If they still regard themselves as a smoker in some way, they will never truly be able to quit.
Without getting too stuck in the realms of neuroscience, an addiction can ultimately be seen as a decision, conscious or subconscious. After all, millions of people a year all over world decide to change their lifelong habits and do it successfully.
So if we label ourselves as stressed, depressed, old or fat for example, are we simply allowing ourselves to act in a way which exacerbates the ‘aliment’ we have labelled ourselves with? I am not denying that there are medical conditions and real issues, but I believe that if we accept these labels, we will not put in a fully concerted effort to rid ourselves of the issues surrounding said label.
I believe the above to be true based on the premise that the opposite is accurate. If we fully believe we can achieve a given task, we will put in more effort and therefore by that act alone achieve a better result.
Many of the labels we give ourselves today are issues which we can solve ourselves (or with the help of others) if we allow it to happen. In the light of Mental Health Awareness Week I am in full support of people speaking up and discussing their issues, but we must move beyond this. Being aware of a potential condition is one thing whereas fully accepting it is something different entirely. We can do things to eradicate stress, depression and excess body fat and there are hundreds of stories of people becoming fitter, stronger and healthier despite their age.
I constantly talk to my clients about health (mental and physical) and how important they both are. If your body is physically healthier, it is easier for you to lose body fat. And like wise, if you are psychologically in better health, it is easier for you to become physically healthier. This is why I talk to my clients about the labels they give themselves and to be careful about whether they are positive or negative labels. So be careful how you talk to yourself because you are the only one listening!