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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Labeling: The Good, the Bad, & the...IS?

Something that I have really started paying attention to in my life is how I tend to label myself, particularly emotions and traits of mine, as "good" or "bad." 

As an entrepreneur (I never get tired of saying that!), I have run across scads of other amazing and inspiring female entrepreneurs. One of them is Stephanie from Personal Branding for Introverts. While personality tests tell me I'm not exactly introverted, I definitely have some introvert traits that run deep. My horoscope explains it with my sun sign being Leo (typically extroverted/attention-loving) and my moon sign being Virgo (which apparently tempers my Leo-ness with a bit of timidity). So I really enjoy her insights on how to be confident and sell yourself and your services as a businessperson. One post in particular really resonated with me recently because she talks about those labels we tend to assign to things.

Sometimes things aren't really good or bad. They just ARE what they are. One example is how I was complaining to my business coach that I am just too impatient as a person and that I was feeling a lot of guilt over it. She said, "What if impatience didn't have to be 'good' or 'bad'? What if it's precisely your impatient nature that makes you a go-getter who has the gumption to run your own business and go after what you want in life?" 

I had never looked at it like that before, and let me tell you, that was life-changing. Ever since, I've been trying to consciously examine the things I assume about myself - whether inside or outside - and decide if it can really be labeled so concretely or if it just is what it is. It's quite freeing.

The very opener to Stephanie's post is:

Q: What makes a personality trait good or bad?

A: The word you choose to describe it.

Doesn't get much more powerful than that, right?

Sometimes, simply changing a word you use to describe yourself can make all the difference in how you view yourself - and, therefore, affects your level of confidence and sense of worth. Merely converting "timid" or "bashful" to "unpretentious" or "non-aggressive" certainly puts things in a different light, no? What if "loner" becomes "individualistic"? Stephanie offers several more examples, in addition to these, of adjective conversion in the post.

While the post is geared toward common adjectives that introverts might use to describe themselves, the principle can really be applied to so many ways we use to describe (read: judge) ourselves, whether you're introverted or not.

What is a negative self-talk adjective you commonly use, and what is the more positive equivalent you can start using instead?

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