Limiting Labels

A long time ago, I was talking with a fellow parent who made an interesting point that stuck with me since.

When talking about her daughter’s tendencies to avoid talking to people, she would not use the word “shy” — especially in the child’s presence. The reason? Labeling, in this case, carried a narrative that wasn’t beneficial to anyone. The mother decided to focus on specific behaviors and address them directly, instead of putting the youngster in a category that would perhaps lead to a self-fulfilling path of being shy.

Just recently, I thought about limiting labels in the context of U.S. politics.

Specifically: self-identifying yourself as a Democrat or a Republican immediately triggers assumptions by others of how you view various topics. And how it seems if two people are aligned with different political parties they’ll automatically believe there’s very little common ground.

The steadfast allegiance to a particular group bothers me. I do wonder how much labels in politics is blocking progress.