Breaking Free From Labels: 5 Types of Labels You DON’T Have to Identify With

You know what we’re sick and tired of? Labels! They’re often unproductive, reductive, and just plain arbitrary.

At the end of the day, labels aren’t for you, they’re for the people around you to understand you (or, try to understand you). We’re all different, so what’s the point of trying to stuff ourselves into boxes for other people’s benefits when we may not even identify with them for ourselves? Have you ever tried to describe your current situation (relationship, job, etc) to someone else and hated every word that falls from your lips? Us too! You know what, we’re pretty damn over it.

We feel that the first step to reclaiming our lives, identities, and current situations is to reject the labels that just don’t fit or even reject labels in general.

Here’s a list of five types of labels that you can re-arrange to suit you better or kick out of your life entirely:

Relationships/Relationship Statuses

Have you ever said the words “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or “partner” and felt weird about it? We’ve all been there. The thing is, just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean the terms that other couples use will work for you. Also, don’t be feeling like you have to call you significant other “babe” because you’ve heard other people say it. If it feels unnatural, you’ll immediately hate that you said it (from experience). Let your terms of endearment and identifiers flow out organically, or just kybosh them entirely if nothing fits.

In terms of relationship statuses, there’s a reason it feels so unnatural at times: because it is! We don’t have a label for all of the many stages of like, love, and lust, so no wonder it’s so challenging to pick an appropriate one. Also, who cares! The only person who needs to understand your relationship is you, and since you’re in said relationship, we think you’re good to go!

Occupational

Is anyone else tired of being asked the dreaded question “what do you do?” Firstly, we need to release ourselves from the notion that our jobs define us. Sometimes, jobs are simply means to bring home that bacon and not a part of our identity. Many people don’t a have job, don’t like their job, don’t work a conventional/easily explainable job, or simply just don’t want to talk about their job, and that’s alright!

Because all we can do is change our own behavior, here’s how you can adjust to reject occupational labels. Stop asking people what they do, rather, ask them what they like to do, what they’re passionate about if they have any creative projects on the go, and other such questions like these! Encourage others to speak about what inspires them and your conversations will be much more meaningful. On the flip side, if someone asks you what you do, speak of your passions, and if that happens to be work, great! If not, no problemo!

Sexual Orientation

What is it with people wanting others to declare their sexual orientation for the world to hear!? Have you ever heard someone say “Oh, so are they gay now?” or “Wait, I thought they were gay” if someone dates outside of the sexual orientation that others expect of them? We have, and we’re beyond bummed about it. We do not own anyone’s sexuality but our own, we do not have the right to demand an explanation, and it’s none of our business! You do not have to “pick” a sexual orientation to appease someone else, and if you’re feeling pressure to do so, perhaps you should simply ask the asker why they feel they need/are entitled to this information. Put simply, you don’t own anyone anything.

If you identify with a sexual orientation and you feel it’s a sufficient signifier for you, that’s great, but don’t expect others to be the same as you are. We’re all different after all!

Gender

Tragically, there are many circumstances in which we need to declare our genders, you even need to select M or F to book a plane ticket! This being said, you do not have to deal with the M/F BS in your personal life and in your circles. If you do not identify as male or female, then don’t! You don’t have to pick a gender and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Also, again, who cares! Why do we make such a big deal about silly words like “male” and female”?

Financial

Can we stop calling ourselves broke? Can we stop asking each other how much we make? and can we stop asking people how much various things cost them? It does not matter and it’s ALL relative. What “broke” means from person to person is vastly different, and money is a sensitive topic, so we might as well just not talk about it. I don’t really feel that broke, I have in the fridge and a place to live, but if you looked at my bank account you’d probably gasp. Money is what you make it, it’s all relative, and everyone’s relationship with money is vastly different. If people are asking you about your financial situation and you don’t want to label yourself as “broke” or “doing fine,” just don’t. Say “don’t worry about it” and be on your way. Your hustle is your business and no one else’s

So, who’s with us? Let’s reject labels together and free ourselves from all that pressure!

Britanny Burr

Britanny is a Freelance Writer and Editor with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains and is currently dwelling in Vancouver. She loves pool parties (though they are few and far between because she lives in Canada), hairless cats (though she hasn't yet met one in real life), and people who make her laugh. You can find her dancing, reading, drinking coffee or wine (dependent on the time of day), and watching Boy Meets World re-runs. @britburr

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