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Soulful Sundays: Labels

Language is one of the unique characteristics of being human. No other animal on the planet has the same command and diversity of verbal expressions. Birds, whales, insects, and the like all communicate with one another, but no species does it like us. We use language to represent abstract ideas, express emotions, and talk about different periods of time. Language has allowed us to create libraries and civilizations, lead revolutions and code computers, go to space and the ocean depths, etc., etc., etc. It is arguably our most powerful technology.


Our brains evolved to use language, and conversely language has evolved to use us. Language formation is a two-way street. Commonly used words and concepts like I, me, food, love, and mom are so deeply woven into the human experience that they are universals, sharing the same root sounds across all human languages. The words we have grown up with shape our way of thinking and acting to such a high degree that we can't separate words from memories. All that being said, the words and labels that we choose (or have been chosen for us) to use are extremely important.


Think of words like the DNA to how your brain works. They are the blueprints for thoughts, interpretations, and imagination, but their expression is not automatic. After a certain age (18-26 years old) the human brain reaches a level of maturity where we should be able to separate our interpretation of reality, a la words, from actual reality, which is free from labels. This type of clarity is something that must be routinely practiced, and even those who are the best at it will never fully be free from language. To be human is to use language, which will always fall short of grasping the Truth. The point is, that we all have a choice of how we use language to shape our reality.


Here is an experiment in labeling that I have been running. Instead of calling things 'good' and 'bad', I am substituting in the words 'comfortable' and 'challenging.' I have found that is a more accurate picture of the events affecting my life and keeps me away form strong negative labels like 'bad,' thus leaving me more objective and able to take on the challenges and enjoy the comforts. Try in out for yourself and see if it allows you to see things a little more clearly. Have a great week!


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