Shawna O’Hagan Morrow header image

We Are More than Labels

in Inspiration

Do you ever ask yourself what holds you back in life?  I’ve been thinking a lot about what holds me back and I started paying attention to my thoughts and what I hear other people saying about themselves.

I hear people say things like: “I’m only a mom,” “I don’t have enough money,” “ I didn’t go to college,” “I’m not smart,” “I’m too fat,” or “I made bad choices in the past”…so what does that mean?  It means that at one point in time or another, we have all been labeled or allowed others label us… and we let that label define us.  I, for one, am sick of it.  I’m tired of letting the labels that I have accepted in the past hold me back or keep me down.  I’ve realized that I am more than a label and so are you.

We are more than labels we are given or that we put on ourselves: Married, single, short, tall, beautiful, ugly, fat, thin, CEO, Doctor, CPA, dog walker, mother, cashier, pizza girl – the list goes on and on.

Think about it, when we pay attention to what we really want to do, we all of a sudden think – “I can’t do that I’m a pizza girl not an artist.”  Is that true?  Maybe you’re both?  Ever consider what we’re missing out on what we’re meant to do in life because of the limitations or labels we accept?

Maybe you’re a pizza girl now, but you’re an artist at heart just waiting to come out.  If you believe that you’re not an artist, how could you become one?  I’ve always given myself the label of “I’m not a writer.”  Yet, here I sit at 3:20 am writing because I have such a compelling thought that I can’t sleep until I get it down on paper.  What makes me any less of a writer than anyone else?  Am I not capable?  Sure I am, then why have I worn this label of not being able to write for so many years? Why does it have to be either or?  Why do I have to choose between being a writer or not being a writer or being a CPA or a Life Coach?  Why can’t I be both?  The fact is that I am a CPA and a life coach – go figure!  I thought I had to choose, but the truth is I’m both and sometimes I’m neither!   And that’s OK.

People feel boxed in by having to make a choice – I know I have.  When we allow ourselves to be placed into a box that is labeled, it can be difficult to get out.  We think that if you’re not good, well then you must be bad…that feels like crap!  If you believe that you’re bad – it’s hard to see that you have good qualities.   So my invitation to all of you is to say NO to your labels!  Don’t limit yourself by being labeled or allowing someone else to label you.

Here’s what I know, we are more than the letters – titles, names, honors – CEO, MD, CPA, teacher, mother, wife, daughter, athlete, model, singer, married, single, etc…What does it mean to be a single mother or a married teacher?  Is one more capable of reaching for their dreams?  We are more than these letters we take on and make our identities.

We are more than the numbers – number on a scale, your age, your height, GPA or salary.  What does it mean to be 250 or 40 or 5 feet or have a 3.875 or make $45,000 or even $150,000??  Is 25 years old better than 40?  Depends on who you ask, but the answer is no.  Why does that matter?  You are just the way you are supposed to be in this moment – but we often feel less than because of the labels.  When we think: “I’m not 110 lbs., so I can’t be a model or beautiful” or “I’m not 25 years old, so I can’t change careers” or “I don’t make $150,000 so I can’t afford to go back to school or have a baby,”  we are selling ourselves short by accepting the labels. Let me tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to and your energy flows where your attention goes.  If you’re focused on what you’re not, it’s very difficult to love what you are!

What label are you wearing that you wish you weren’t?   Why can’t we just be happy and do what we love or are naturally good at?  Why do we limit ourselves with labels?  I challenge you to take the labels off and be who you want to be!

If what you want to be doesn’t exist – create it!   Personally, I would love to be a Chief Happiness Officer.  Did you know there is actually a position of Chief Happiness Officer?  Well there is, and some major companies have one – McDonald’s, Google, Zappos – just to name a few.  Who knew that existed?  Well, it didn’t until someone created it.  So create what you want especially if it doesn’t exist…blaze the path for yourself and maybe the next person who wants to be a Chief Happiness Officer or a pizza girl artist, or a CPA Life Coach, just sayin’.  Bust through your perceived limitations, don’t accept your labels – become what your heart desires!

What you accept continues…so now I’m a writer!  Change your thoughts, change your reality!

6 comments… add one

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  • Beth July 8, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Thanks for writing this Shawna. I agree with removing the labels, especially the ones we give ourselves. I have to admit, though, I love the label “Mome” as spelled by my six year old!

    • shawna July 10, 2013, 6:14 pm

      I love that “mome” so sweet!!

  • Cindy Wojnar July 8, 2013, 7:58 pm

    I love it….no more labels…you be YOU!

    • shawna July 10, 2013, 6:12 pm

      That’s exactly the point Cindy – Just be yourself!

  • Michelle Gillette July 10, 2013, 7:56 am

    Not to “label” you or anything…but you are awesome. Loved it. Now I need to scrap my mom/wife/life-coach/chauffer/bad-ass/artist/grand-daughter/humorist/Stella & Dot Stylist/swears while she drives/and can sometimes get bitchy even though she’s a life coach and could work through it but she chooses not to/ Business Card, and exchange it for another business card that says
    “I am not a business card. But If I WAS a business card…I would say MEMBER OF THE SHAWNA FAN CLUB.”

    • shawna July 10, 2013, 6:12 pm

      Thanks Michelle! You ROCK!!