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What’s in a name? Everything!

I think a lot about labels and the profound impact they have on each of us. Whether they are positive or negative, if labeled, it is likely you will become what you are called. Creative or dull, selfish or generous, sweet or mean, local or global, the variations are endless. Though our parents tried to give us tools with the old “sticks and stones” shield, it was never bullet proof was it? Somehow, at least for a moment you became the name, the label.

More than ever, I now understand how critical it is that we choose our words carefully with our children, our co-workers and our friends. It is quite possible that your words will shape someone’s life, their career and their expectations of what they can accomplish. And, as we have witnessed in the news recently, the labels we carelessly give others may have a boomerang effect and result in life changing consequences.

Equally important are the labels we give ourselves as they often shape our dreams and beliefs about what we can accomplish. We each view the world through the personal filters of our life experiences. Sometimes, our viewpoints may be pretty myopic as a result of our own experiences. Labels are limiting and confining. We don’t like when others label us but, we don’t hesitate to do it to ourselves!

What if your view was unfiltered? Would it give you the ability to step back and see a person or circumstance more clearly? Would it allow you to dream bigger? Don’t forget that the only difference between you and a Visionary is that they dreamed big and took action! Your perspective on life can show up as an attitude that dictates whether you believe your life is a diverse tapestry of extraordinary moments, a mundane existence, or something in between.

If your views were unfiltered, would you be able to observe pressing issues you did not relate to before with fresh eyes? If you imagined yourself stepping into the shoes of those challenged with a particular issue, would it give you a different vantage point to help you better understand their perspective? Do you have a sense of resistance or stubbornness about changing “sides”, even if its just in your mind? Until we can relate through empathy and connect with another perspective, our views will continue to be skewed to our smaller life rather than the collective need.

We exist in a time where our communities are divided. Our points of view on everything from climate change to politics is raw and often distorted by our personal interpretations or those we have adopted from the media, our fears and opinions. These are then colored by our experience of religion, ethics, personal relationships, work and school. Can we find consensus or at least shift a few degrees to better understand the root of the problems we wish no longer existed?

I have been told by many people that when they look at the news and the unthinkable tragedies around the world, they find they look away because of the sadness they feel when they confront them head on. But look and feel we must, nothing will change till we do, it’s why I wrote Solutionaries. My hope was to give everyone a map to navigate as we figure out our piece to the jigsaw puzzle. This may be the first step to creating positive change and finding solutions to some of our world’s most pressing issues.

Copyright © Linda Lattimore

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