Are Labels Helpful?

I am on a facebook page of people preparing our 20 year high school reunion.  Even though I can’t make the reunion, I’ve kept up with the information and pictures that are shared.  One comment stuck on to me on these post.  A single mom said it would be fun if the popular people didn’t hang out in a clique like they did in high school.

There is a lot I could unpack about that statement.  The major thing that interest me is how long labels stick with us.  Those that were labeled ‘popular’ surely are not popular anymore.  Many of them have struggled with the responsibility of being an adult.  The ‘losers’ in the class have done okay.

It is crazy those labels have stick for 2 decades.

When I was in high school, a youth leader at my church told me that I was pessimistic.  I’d never thought much about that sort of thing so I just accepted it as truth.  Because I know pessimism can be seen as a negative for a leader, I just told me I was a realist.  As time went on something changed in my mindset or those around me just got a lot more negative than me.  One day I remember thinking I might be the most optimistic person that I know.  How can that be since I’m a pessimist?

It just happened that a leadership test was being required of me by our church.  Part of this test would say if you were a realist or optimist.  I expected to be a realist.  The shocking news came that I was an over the top optimist.  What?!?  When did this happen?  This seems right, but really?

Life, God’s word, traveling, the Holy Spirit, and more have a way of changing us over time.  Don’t let labels from years ago keep you from growing and acknowledging that growth.   Labels are dangerous in that they can define us for years.  Be more than those labels that others put on you.  You can change.

I went from an depressing pessimist to an extreme optimist.  You can too.

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