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How to banish childhood labels from your life

When we’re children, people around us place certain labels on us, whether we realise it or not. These childhood labels can be really helpful when it comes to figuring out who we are as people. But, if the people around us don’t label us correctly, it can be destructive and limiting to our growth.

What are your childhood labels?

Have you ever thought about your own childhood labels? Some of them are quite obvious, such as athlete, and some are more obscure like unlucky. Take a moment to list some of the labels you feel you’ve brought with you from childhood. Start with the easy ones, and then have a think about what others might be lurking in your mind.

Here are some examples of sneaky childhood labels:

  • Loser
  • Freak
  • Ugly
  • Fat
  • Short
  • Skinny
  • Loud
  • Shy
  • Mean
  • Stupid
  • Boring
  • Shy
  • Mousy
  • Slow
  • Nerdy

Important to note here is that, yes, the above list is quite negative. But the title of this article is around banishing these labels. We don’t want to banish the good ones, such as talented, clever, confident etc. But I do encourage you to list these down too, so that you can hang on to these and celebrate them.

Confront your kid

Now that you’ve seen the horrors that are your childhood labels, it’s time to address them. Look at these labels objectively. Compare them to the life you’ve lived up to this point. Are they true? Were they ever true?

When you’re ready, have a chat with your child-self. You might want to do this via a letter to yourself, or you could talk to yourself in the mirror. Whatever feels right. Tell that child the truth.

Leave them behind

Now that you’ve debunked your labels, it’s time to move on. Gather up the ones that still relate to you, and give yourself some new labels. Ones that are true, for you, not for anyone else – because their opinion is just that: an opinion.

Childhood labels have a way of following us around long after they are relevant, and are very often not even true in the first place. It’s vital for our everyday happiness that we take a step back and really evaluate what labels have stuck with us. If they aren’t true, they need to go.

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