The Harmful Effects of Labelling People

Ours is a generation that is surrounded by labels. We see them in products, supermarkets and specialty shops and much of the daily choices we make are dependent on labels and brand names. Labelling is essential so everything around us takes on its unique character, distinct from the rest.

We do tend however, to allow labelling to go past where it should be. In our attempt to make our own distinctions, we have a tendency to label people, especially children and identify them with certain characteristics that may have long-term harmful effects on their personalities.

In school, children are labelled by their teachers and peers. We almost always have the class clown, a class diva and the class bully. There’s someone in there who is the most likely to succeed and the one most likely to get married first.

Labelling may seem to be a trivial matter, but its effects are not trivial at all. In fact, they can be very harmful. Labelling people causes them to lose motivation and self-esteem as it closes the mind of the person who sticks the label. The labeller gets a general perception of the subject and allows him no room for change or improvement. When we put labels on people, we scuff away any opportunity for them to rise above expectation. Usually, labelled people are afraid to show that they hurt or that they are hungry, and all these negative emotions get bottled up because they are not on the list under a specific person label. They end up unable to express their thoughts and expressions and retreat to their own private world where they live by no labels and are free to be themselves. These worlds are not too realistic though, and the isolation graduates to more serious problems such as identity crisis, substance dependence and mostly to anti-social behaviour patterns.

Let’s put a stop to sticking labels on people. Ours will be a world where people will be free to express themselves and nurture their potentials. Let’s keep the labels where they’re supposed to be – stuck to the soup can.

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