What are Labels? (And How to Define Your Own)

Close up of woman sitting at desk, writing in journal.

Your mind is always creating labels for nearly everything in order to help you focus on what things are. Think about it… You label your identity, your feelings, your sexuality, your romance status, your religion and political status, and even your preferences in life. We also label things like products, places, people, personality traits, and even ourselves.

Why is this, though? Well, your mind is always labeling things (probably when you don’t even realize it) as a way of staying organized and knowing what to expect.

For example, when you try a restaurant for the first time, you’re forming an opinion of whether that particular restaurant is “good” or “bad”.

In other words, you’re creating a label for that restaurant. Therefore, if you label that restaurant as “good”, you’re going to go back there again in the future. But, if you label that restaurant as “bad”, you’ll likely not be going there ever again.

You may even go as far as letting other people know not to eat there for various reasons.

That is just ONE example of a label and the impact that label can have on you and others. So if the label that you give to a restaurant is this impactful, imagine the power that the labels you give to yourself will have.

Labels Given By Yourself

Do you know that the labels you give to yourself can be damaging? This is because you will begin to believe that the labels you give to yourself are true. Your mind will then go a step further and actually start looking for evidence to support that label. Interesting, right?

What labels do you have for yourself? Who are YOU in this world? Male? Female? Sister? Brother? Wife? Husband? Daughter? Son? Mother? Father? Friend?

Every label that you give to yourself sets up a framework in your mind, along with a definition of what each label means. Your labels define the way that you behave. You’ll even use each label as a scale to determine how you’re doing in the world.

Are your labels positive or negative? What are the labels that you’ve given to yourself causing you to believe or do?

Labels Given By Others

Now, think a little deeper… What labels have been given to you by others? Do they say that you’re… Attractive? Rebellious? Kind? Aggressive? Selfish? Organized? Lazy? Altruistic? Respectful?

Think about the labels that others have given to you. Some of those labels have bothered you, right? You’ve likely taken on many of those labels and made them your identity.

Just like the labels that you’ve given to yourself can be damaging, so can the labels given to you by others.

Defining Your Own Labels

The most important labels are the ones that you have given to yourself. Say that out loud… “The most important labels are the ones that you have given to yourself.”

Think about how you have described yourself thus far.

What labels help you or build your self-confidence?

What labels bring you down or hold you back?

Think of any negative labels that you’ve previously given to yourself. Are those particular labels even true anymore? Chances are that those negative labels used to be true but you’ve outgrown them. It’s time to let those negative labels go!

Ask yourself this… “What labels do I want for myself now?” Write those labels down. Look at the definition of each one and check-in with yourself on how each label makes you feel. If it doesn’t feel good, let it go. Maybe it’s time to think of some new (positive) labels for yourself!


See which labels you’re ready to get rid of and which labels you now want to give to yourself.

Remember, your mind will always subconsciously look for evidence to support whichever labels you’re giving to yourself, so make sure those labels are positive and uplifting!

You can change how you view yourself at any time by focusing on the truth of who you are.

Looking for more support in creating those new labels for yourself? Join my Community and get inspired to be a better coach or even a better YOU!

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