What does your label say about you?

Labels are great for things like washing instructions tacked inside a seam on a garment. Direct and to the point, you read it and right away you know how to care for your new shirt.

People don’t come  with labels, obviously. So we tend to add those labels ourselves. He’s an artist. She’s a Democrat. They’re Southerners. But let’s be careful with that.

Just because they have a certain recognizable attribute, doesn’t mean you can predict everything about a person. It’s dangerous to assume you can predict anything from such a general label.

With people, you have to take the time to get to know them. I contend, that even given a small amount of time, if you really focus on the other person—really listen with an open mind—you can find what defines a person beyond any label. 

And in doing so, you give that person an opportunity to show who they really are.

Labels are shortcuts not worth taking. The richness of personal interaction comes from learning about a person’s generosity, kindness, courage, intelligence, passion, empathy, grace, integrity—the list goes on.

Values are best discerned by ignoring any label. Instead pay attention to what a person says, and what they do.