Labels in Communication

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From the time we are born, labels are all around us. Harmless little terms such as "Mommy and Me Time" or "Playtime" are phrases we come to learn and understand as we grow, and introduce us to the whole concept of placing labels on things in our lives. The very idea of placing labels on things is a very human thing to do. In a world of chaos, we find it comforting to be able to place a nice little label on something and pack it away in a little corner of our mind where it can be with other like-labeled things. We are creates that find comfort in order, and by place labels on otherwise unlabeled things, we can create order in our life. We label everything in our lives, including ourselves. The labels we, and others, place on ourselves are perhaps the most influential. They impact the way that we perceive ourselves and how others see us as well. Labels also play into the idea of stereotypes. In fact, it is often in labels that we are able to distinguish stereotypes. In society, you often hear phrases like "Redneck", "Goth", "Prep", and so on. These labels correspond to a set mentality in our society that virtually everyone knows simply because they are culturally active. The use of these labels has both pros and cons. For some, they use these labels to affiliate themselves with people with the same label. People can find bonds in using these labels, and find comfort in knowing that other people share and embrace the same ideals as them. In that sense, the label is used as a positive thing, a relationship building tool. At the same time, people can use the labels as a tool to avoid getting to know the actual person behind it. Some people can't see past the label, and simply dismiss the all black-wearing kid in the corner as a "crazy Goth kid" who worships Satan and writes dark poetry. We also use labels to hide behind. A common problem with diagnosis of mental illness is that people use the diagnosis not as something to work on, but something to hide behind and...
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