Labels as expression of our own feelings

Labels as expression of our own feelings … When someone does something that annoys or upsets us, we usually react by using a label or even many labels. Clumsy, stupid, lazy, rude, arrogant – often these ‘negative’ labels express the way the behaviour of another person makes us feel. By using a label, we are able to distance ourselves from our feeling by dumping responsibility onto the other person.

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  Instead of, “You stupid, clumsy child!” when our child spills fruit juice on the carpet, we could acknowledge and express the way their action makes us feel, along the lines of, “I feel really annoyed when that happens, because juice stains, and besides I’ve told you a hundred times to finish your drink in the kitchen!” If we do this we focus on the behaviour and not on the individual, in other words, we separate the do-er from the deed.

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