What labels have defined you?
I’ve worn a number of labels in my short life. Some stick, some don’t. Some were given to me without my choice. Some I placed on myself and held onto for too long.
Something I’ve learned over time is that you can’t, and won’t, get very far in life if you keep every single label life throws at you, including the ones you give yourself. There is freedom in realizing this and starting to peel off the labels that you and others have applied to yourself.. In being Unlabeled you are no longer bound by things that have happened to you, things from your past, bad choices you’ve made, and choices that others made for you.
I was molested before the age of 10.
A dropout by my teens.
Bankrupt by my twenties.
Grieving the loss of my older brother, the only person I could really talk to about anything, by my late twenties.
Divorced and a single father by thirty.
And laid off three times in my life. Number three was just last week.
This is only my Human Experience. There are endless amounts of stories from endless amounts of people, all over this earth. These include people with absent fathers, rape victims, children put into slavery, people who have known loss and sorrow, and victims of abuse or injustice, to name a few.
Some of you, including myself, may be asking “Why?”, “Why me?”, “Why this?”, “Why now?”
My question to you is, WHY NOT? Why not you? What makes you so special? I mean it’s called the Human Experience for a reason: you experience it.
I am by no means saying that you deserve this or that we as humans even deserve the bad stuff that comes to us. What I mean by this is that no one is special, we all have our ups and downs, we all have good and bad moments in life. We all experience pain at some point in our lives or another. What separates people who are stuck where they are and people who are able to move forward, is the willingness to work. Work on yourself, work on your heart, work on your mind, work on your craft, work on your art, work on your calling. Working even when things are not the way you pictured or wanted them to be. Success and life honor the worker; the people who are willing to make a difference in spite of what or where their life currently is.
You live life- in all its magnificence, misery, and heartache, but no one is exempt from the experience. It is these experiences, good and bad, that tie us together and allow us to feel true empathy for others.
There is so much shitty stuff in this world and in life. So many shitty people waiting to hurt you. So many people who hurt people because they are hurt people. So many companies and religions taking advantage of people. So many homeless, desperate, and marginalized people on my block alone. So many people looking for a change, an opportunity to better themselves, and get out of their circumstances.
Who’s gonna change all this? Who is going to afford others the opportunity to improve their lives?
WHY NOT YOU?
Why not use your experiences to lift others? Why not your skills and talents? Why not your money, time, and effort? Why not your businesses? What makes you or me so special that we shouldn’t contribute or dedicate our lives to changing things around us? Are we not all human? Do we not all experience the same fears, doubts, and loneliness?
Is life always this hard?
We can’t choose where we came from, but we can choose the next few steps we take, however big or small. Don’t expect the person on your left to help or feed the person on your right. You are exactly where you need to be to help that person, if you’re willing to figure out how. Whether it be through time, money, or effort, you have the potential to help someone other than yourself, shitty experiences and all. There is always someone who needs YOUR help, someone who needs YOUR story.
You can’t wait for things to get better before you decide to help someone, because things may never get better. The only thing you can control is yourself and making yourself better. A better person, a better son, a better brother, a better father, a better companion, a better human being.
There is always bad and always evil. Your fears will always be there, your doubts will always be there, your bad experiences will always be there.
So choose to act, in spite of that. There is someone who needs you, just as you are.
What defines you?
Take a look at the labels that define you and decide how you want to define yourself. Don’t let what others think, say or label you as, define you.
Let those next steps you choose to take define you. Let the dream you’ve been putting on hold define you, as you take each and every excruciating step towards it. Let that skill, art or craft you’ve been putting off learning define you, as you take steps each and every day to put the time in. Let the sons and daughters you raise define you, as you figure how to guide them through this life. Let what you do for others define you. Let the opportunities you create and the moments that you share a meaningful connection with another person define you.
There are so many negative labels worn and given to so many great people in this world, but just imagine if they allowed those to dictate their next steps and their potential. We are the only ones to hold ourselves back. We are the ones who can choose what we let define us, no one else.
I am an expert at creating excuses- excuses why I haven’t made more moves, why I’m not farther along, why I’ll just do it tomorrow or when I really feel it, why I’m not where I want to be. But I have let things, others, and experiences define who I was for too long. There is no excuse for not being the person you already are, no need to search or figure out “why did this happen to me?”. You were born the person you were meant to be, so now grow and figure out what and who that really is.
Remember the things that changed your world as a child, the things that lit you up, the things you had no doubt in your mind were possible. For some those things are so far from you now, you can hardly make out what they are, But take the time to remember and figure out what those things are.
Then figure out how you can use those things to touch another person’s life. If we seek just to better ourselves and not affect another in the process or with the result, then what is the point?
Maybe I’m a little too altruistic but really, tell me, what is the point of doing only for yourself? Whatever belief you hold, we all die. So then what is the point of doing only for yourself, really? That big house, that great business, that fat bank account is really gonna do you so much good when you’re dead. I have yet to hear about any millionaire writing a check to buy a few extra minutes of life.
All those things won’t be remembered when you die. What will be remembered is what you did while you still had breath in your lungs. You won’t be remembered for the things you hoped to do, the things you talked about doing or the things you wanted to do, but never did.
You get remembered for “Do”; this is an action. What you do for others, what you do to better this world, what you do to impact the lives of others, what you do selflessly.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. — Dale Carnegie
Don’t ever sell yourself short. Don’t let life, your past or the bad that others have done to you lead you to sell yourself short. Someone needs you, your story, your life, your past, your experiences (good and bad), right where you are.
One more thing:
This is what I’m doing, what I’ve been working on. Contact me if you’d like to get involved or learn more.