“One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one's perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” ~ TOM ROBBINS
I decided to continue with the concept of seeing without labeling and apply it to how we view people and situations. Once, I spent some time in nature and practiced seeing without labeling it became easier. I was just able to “be” in nature and didn’t have to label the beautiful sunsets, flowers, animals, or anything else, because in actuality, there are not really words that do it justice. I am now more serene and just experience the present moment.
In terms of seeing people, I am working on being non-judgmental and not labeling them based on race, gender, sexual preference, height, weight, style of clothing, attitude or the other myriad of ways that we judge people. Awareness is the key to realize how often we label people. Take one day and just practice awareness and see how many times you put a label on someone. We don’t know these people; we don’t know their story or situation. Who are we to judge? Now, when I catch myself applying a label to a person, I acknowledge that I have done that (I don’t beat myself up as that never helps) and I silently send that person love and light. The interesting thing that I have noticed is that because of this practice, I find myself judging and labeling less.
The final part of not labeling for me is not labeling situations as “good” or “bad” or with any other judgment. This is easy to do when things are going well. But, when something happens that I did not plan on occurring, I try to accept that this is the way things are at this moment. Acceptance and surrender makes life so much easier and I don’t waste energy being angry or upset. Because sometimes, those things I would have labeled as “bad” end up being a lesson I needed to learn or have a much better outcome than I had planned for in the long run. It takes patience and practice to stop labeling, but I am reaping the benefits of the process.
What happens if you stop labeling people?
What happens if you stop labeling situations?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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