When you look at me what do you see? If I were to describe myself to others I would say that I am a girl. I am a runner. I am a vegan. I am a lover of tea. I am outgoing. I am a blogger. But I am not just my labels.
When I describe myself I often rely on these labels. Over the years I have identified with various different ones. To be honest I don’t think there is anything wrong with labels, but they don’t tell you who a person truly is. It is when we have labels attached to our identity that we find it difficult to grow.
For a long time I was told that I was an outgoing person. I heard it so much that I believed it to be so. I thought I was an extrovert and I looked at this label as something that would never change. But over the past few years I have realized that I am not an extrovert at all. Sure I love being around others, don’t get afraid of public speaking, and find it easy to talk to strangers. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy alone time. In fact I THRIVE when I have time alone. I realized that by subconsciously telling myself I was an extrovert, I didn’t realize how much I love being alone. And while this may seem like a small discover for others, for me it felt like I was finally discovering the most authentic version of myself.
These days it seems like every diet needs a label. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, keto, or paleo, we rely on our labels. And while they may describe what’s on our plate they shouldn’t be considered exclusive and restrictive. I am proud of living a vegan lifestyle. Yet when people hear the word “vegan” a certain image probably comes to mind. They may think that everyone who is vegan love animals more than people and believes that their diet makes them superior. And while that may apply to some vegans it is a gross over generalization.
What I mean is it’s OKAY to stray from your label. Heck In fact it’s even normal! I love drinking tea in the morning but I also love the taste of coffee. Since I’m very sensitive to caffeine I usually only have coffee once a week. For a while I felt like I was a “tea person” so I couldn’t or wouldn’t drink coffee...how silly is that?! I don’t need coffee to wake up but I do love the taste of it.
We become so accustomed to living by our labels that we forget to ask ourselves what it is we truly want. My whole life people told me I was good at running and better yet I loved doing it. I’ve ran for as long as I can remember but I also have a passion for any sport that gets me outdoors; hiking, skiing, biking, swimming...the list goes on. Not only am I challenging my body with training for a Half Ironman, but I am also challenging the label I’ve given myself.
Labels may tell you a little bit about someone but we are all so much more than just our labels. I may be a girl but I don’t wear makeup. I may be a runner but I love all types of activity. I may be vegan but I don’t think diet dictates the quality of someone’s character. I may be a lover of tea but I still love a good soy latte every now and again. I may be outgoing but I don’t mind spending time alone. I may be a blogger. When we detach ourselves from the labels that describe us we become the most authentic version of ourselves. We are all continually evolving, growing, and changing. Once we understand that labels are fluid, that they come and go with our life, we can begin to discover our true selves.
Don’t be afraid to try something new, you may just discover who you truly are.