A label is defined as a classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive. That last part is the dangerous one. Whenever we label someone or something – an emotion such as fear, for example – we are encapsulating it usually as either good or bad, right or wrong. For whatever reason, the final stretch of 2017 was more reflective than usual for me. Labels and judgments were at the top of my mind.
I was able to realize that throughout my self-developmental journey, there was an arrogance present that prevented me from truly connecting with who I wanted to be professionally, how I wanted to help others as a coach, speaker and host of a television show. As a headstrong person, allowing for things not to go my way can be challenging, to say the least. Then, a lightbulb went off for me: if, due to my arrogance, I was so set in my ways that I was unable to truly connect with myself and other people, and I judged and labeled them as less intelligent for not seeing things the way I did, what did this arrogance ever do for me?
See, this was the watershed moment: arrogance was labeled a negative, undesirable, wrong emotion by me since I was very young. And because we are humans, and therefore limited in our perceptions, this quality that I judged so harshly in others was present in myself, if ever so subtly. Whereas I would not mistreat anyone or put them down, I would definitely, and silently, judge them behind a smile. After that insight, I became creative and thought about the ways in which my life was enriched by this veiled arrogance. And my dear readers, the list kept growing: from always being an inquisitive, curious person, not accepting answers such as “that’s just the way it is,” to producing my own talk show, arrogance has helped me tremendously in life.
Human beings are fantastic creatures capable of many wonderful things. We have an inner duality: the light and the dark, or shadow self. By allowing myself to accept my emotions as just that, taking away the labels or judgements I had about them, I was able to connect with myself in a way I had not been capable of before, I became very grateful for my conceit and what it has given me. I am capable of harnessing this into something beautiful: arrogance is now a doorway to confidence, higher self-esteem and being of service to others. Once light entered my hidden, shadow self, a shift in perception occurred. I went from fear to love.
If you take one key element from this column, I wish it to be this: label less, judge less, bless the things and people that bother or offend you. Forgive those who have mistreated you. Not for them, but for you. To live your life to the fullest means transgressing whatever paradigm, rule or collective belief was imposed on us humans as a way to separate us, including labeling and judging anything that is different. It is easy to love something or someone that agrees with you, as well as thinks and acts the way you judge as being “right.” Now, to love something or someone that you hate; that is a transgressive act, and your key to personal freedom. Take the first step and look inside yourself. I hope you and your shadow end up dancing together.
Eric Faria is an Emotional Freedom Specialist, Speaker, Trainer, and Columnist. He produces and hosts the TV Show I AM with Eric Faria, airing in the greater Danbury area on Comcast Channel 23 Mondays at 8:30 pm. It is also available on demand on YouTube. To contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.