I am a young woman. I am a Sikh. I am an Indian. I am an American. I am a student. I am a teacher. I am passionate. I am strong. I am weak. I am independent. I am confident. I am insecure. I am a believer. I am a dreamer. I am many things, but I am not one thing: definable.
It is human nature to organize everything around us into boxes, all tied up with neat, nice bows. After all, we are conditioned to do so.
As infants, our parents teach us to name things. They help us make sense of the chaos around us. “Mama.” “Bottle.” Each object is assigned a term.
As children, we are given pictures of objects to color and underneath each one, we are asked to name it. “Apple.” “Ball.”
In school, we are forced to swallow down books of vocabulary. Define these words. What do they mean?
By the time we reach adulthood, it’s not a surprise that our natural reflexes include assigning labels to everything we see, hear, or feel. See. Define.
After all, we are conditioned to do so.
When we are unable to assign something a label, we become frustrated. Is that person I see a man or a woman?
In the end, our seemingly innate ability, or rather need, to define everything around us incredibly limits our capacity to see the world for what it really is.
In reality, nothing fits into a nice, neat box. Events, people, everything around us, is complex. And until we train ourselves to open up our minds, we will always be stuck in a place of limited thinking.
Limited thinking breeds negativity and stereotypes; it breeds hate. Tolerance is a product of understanding and we cannot understand what we do not consider.
Let’s open our minds to the beautiful world with all its complexities.
Don’t label me.
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