Weight loss support with a spiritual element. I will keep you posted on my journey in the hopes that you will join me in becoming the person God wants you to be. Don't worry about being religious. Come as you are.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Labels, Ours or Theirs

Lisa said this over at Allan's:

I don't think she really wants to lose anything. I think she wants to be KNOWN for wanting to lose weight. 

I thought that was pretty perceptive. Most of us probably know the blogger who was the topic of conversation. It really isn't important. We need to spend our time on the living.

Have you ever known anyone who lived up to a label? How much of our labels do we create ourselves?

Contributed By: Kim Davis, Educational Consultant 

“Labeling is a process of creating descriptors to identify persons who differ from the norm. Normal is a broad relative term. Everyone is different in some way from someone else” (Darrow and White).
“Labeling is definitive; once we say it then it holds meaning” (Namka).

How many labels do we use in a day without conscious thought? The student, the teacher, the therapist, or the principal are labels that conjure up images of who those people may be, what they look like and how they might act. What are the labels that might be applied to us? Would we like them? Do the labels describe every aspect of who we are? Are we more reluctant to claim some labels and not others? How do we feel when we are labeled and categorized?

The above is from the field of education, special education in particular.

This is a true story. A teacher was given her class list before school started and was told which children were highly intelligent. These children actually were not. They were average and somewhat below average. It was found these children achieved far above their supposed ability level because the teacher treated them differently. Why? She thought they were highly intelligent so she treated them as if they were highly intelligent and they lived up to her expectations. This also works in reverse sadly.

Another true story.
The long-term consequences of labeling a child like Hannah "smart" or "slow" are profound. In another classic study, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson told teachers at an elementary school that some of their students had scored in the top 20% of a test designed to identify "academic bloomers"--students who were expected to enter a period of intense intellectual development over the following year. In fact, the students were selected randomly, and they performed no differently from their unselected peers on a genuine academic test. A year after convincing the teachers that some of their students were due to bloom, Rosenthal and Jacobson returned to the school and administered the same test. The results were astonishing among the younger children: the "bloomers," who were no different from their peers a year ago, now outperformed their unselected peers by 10-15 IQ points. The teachers fostered the intellectual development of the "bloomers," producing a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the students who were baselessly expected to bloom actually outperformed their peers.

We should not treat people as they are but as we expect them to be.

Have you ever had a label that you lived up to? My maiden name was Elsrod - Elsie the Cow was my nickname, my label. I lived up to it. The label made things worse. If you have children, do not tolerate name-calling please.

We are all trying to create a new label for ourselves. One that we can live up to. The ones we create ourselves are the best ones. Labels from others are even better. Think how we feel when someone comments with something thoughtful, encouraging, or gives us a compliment. Do we sometimes feel we don't deserve it? Sometimes it is a little intimidating because it can make us feel like the bar has been raised a little. Others admire us for what we write. They tell us about a good post. We want to be worthy of their words.

Great labels make for great people.

Take care.


  1. I think we manifest our own destiny.. so to speak. If you wake up each day and say "I'm a rock star - I'm gonna go kick that treadmills ass" you have a much better day than when we think "my ass is so big and my clothes are too tight.. what difference does it make" and then proceed to eat an entire sleeve of cookies because we already know we are "fat". So we carry our own self imposed label throughout the day... living up to our own definitions of ourselves.

    Aside from the fact that I come across blunt, and possibly to some mean and dare I say it even a bitch lol... I'm actually a firm believer in handing out random compliments. Because you never know who you are going to touch. The lady who spent her morning being "old" "frumpy" "tired" whatever.. may have a whole new outlook after being told her hair looks nice. Now she's seeing herself as "the lady with the awesome hair!" and who knows what kind of positive changes that can bring about.

    I will tell you, in spite of my hardened heart.. my compliments are genuine and from the heart. I never say stuff to people that I don't feel is true.. and building up someones self esteem based on bullshit is a waste of time. They have nothing to build on there and it probably just perpetuates the downward spiral.

    I have seen the power of a good word or "label" and it is pretty satisfying to see someone's light bulb pop on... so to speak. Encouragement has never been my thing.. but my belief in the fact that we meet everyone for a reason and that we are meant to touch their lives, in even the smallest way, makes me want to be a better person.. more empathetic, more encouraging..

    Hard to believe, I know lol

  2. It's not hard to believe at all. I admire people who don't beat around the bush, who speak the truth even if it seems harsh at times. Compliments from people like you mean something and so do the evaluations of behavior that fall short of a good effort. One of the shortcomings of raising kids these days is telling them that everything they do is wonderful. They can do anything, be anything they want. Everybody gets on the team. Everybody gets a ribbon. There are no losers. I will temper that by saying we shouldn't hurt but we all need to grow up realizing that we are better at some things than at other things. Some us really are not athletic but we still have a gift to develop. The real world is a shock to the young person who thinks he/she will find a good, well-paying job just because he/she showed up. Have you ever noticed that our best people seem to come from humble backgrounds? They have done without; they have had to work for what they got. Random acts of kindness are wonderful things but our words and deeds have to be sincere, deserved, and said or done with a desire to make people better and stronger and not give them a false sense of security that hasn't been earned. We all should take the opportunity to brighten someone's day with a kind word or deed. We all feel better through words of encouragement. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments. Take care.

    1. Ughh... don't even get me started on the "Everyone get's a trophy" bullshit that started around the time my daughter was in grade school. She went out for softball.. one season. She only did it cause the teacher asked. She was never that great, but she would spend her time on the bench straightening up helmets and stuff which I thought was great. At the end of the year there was a pizza party. One of the moms called and wanted me to pay for a trophy.. for my daughter.. who hadn't really done anything exceptional as far as softball. Needless to say, we did not go to the pizza party, she didn't get a trophy for doing nothing, and I never even told her about it. She's an amazingly well adjusted young woman now.. despite her not having an empty trophy :oD

      I appreciated your kind words Myra.. you're a very sweet lady who has her head on straight. So glad you have figured this weight loss stuff out... it's refreshing and keeps me from giving myself a concussion. :o)

    2. We are a weaker people because of the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. It sends the message that we don't really have to excel at all - too bad. I certainly would not want to feel like I contributed to your concussion. :-) Be careful out there today.

  3. Interesting post with a knife that cuts both ways. Praise and trophy's for the one extreme. The other is the young person who is constantly berated, belittled, and told how utterly useless and worthless they are. Not by teachers or peers, but by their parents. This child's self esteem is negatively affected, and many children in these environments do live down to the lowered expectations. As a child I witnessed adults who's parenting skills bordered on deranged insanity. For the children that grew to be adults from that home it created a lifetime of dysfunctional relationships with spouses, siblings, co-workers. Some chose drugs and alcohol to cope, others developed morbid obesity, and others became perfectionists that accepted nothing less than perfection from themselves and those they associate with. The living family members had a family reunion six years ago after 27 years of non communication. It was like a gathering of strangers with nothing in common except their family name and birth mother (now deceased). After the reunion ended, they all went back to their individual life's. I guess the next reunion will be at a funeral. There will most likely be some no shows.

    1. We can certainly learn from the mistakes of others; we don't have to make them all ourselves. Parenting is the most important job we undertake with the least preparation. We only know how we were raised and that can be counterproductive. I have seen great people come out of poor homes and vice versa but so often life becomes a continuation of what we lived as a child. We obese adults wouldn't have such a mountain in front of us if we had been better parented but it is what it is. Take care.

  4. I completely believe in having high expectations and what that can do for people. I try to do it in a positive yet meaningful way. The best compliment I ever got what when some of the kids I had taken care of came back a few years after they left the daycare where I worked, and talked about how they liked me so much because I was 'tough but fair'. I beamed with pride at that. They got what I was trying to say to them.
    I have certainly fulfilled some negative ideas that have been put on me- by becoming overweight and not caring how I looked. My family always told me how I would be fat like my mother and how college was just such a waste of time for me. Well, I didn't fulfill everything they thought... I lost the weight, take care of myself and have found that success truly is the BEST revenge!

    1. Remember we always had more respect and cared more for the teachers who had high expectations of us? Families can certainly be the things in our lives that keep us from becoming our best. Some of us overcome that only with a concerted effort to deny that influence. Success truly is the best revenge. Take care.