categories & labels

Recently, I decided to completely reorganize our DVDs. Our move last year gave me the perfect excuse. Instead of the boring, typical, alphabetical system I had used previously, as I unpacked our movies, I divided them by genres. We’ve got action, adventure, fantasy, inspirational drama, literary drama, etc. (And now my husband can’t find anything, since I made up some genres. But it makes sense to me.)

Categories simplify. They make life easier. And anything can be divided into categories, even people.

I’m an INFP. I’m a wife. I’m a cat person. I’m a coffee-drinker. These are all categories that I fit into. But even if you put all of these aspects together, you won’t see me. You’ll just see a bunch of labels, the signs and symbols of categories.

Labels help us interact with people. They enable us see a small part of someone from the moment we meet. He’s a tea-drinker, she’s a dog person. He’s a jogger, she’s a music-lover. It’s a way to simplify.

But sometimes we over-simplify. Labels only describe one small part but they don’t represent the whole. It’s like the way the word arm refers to something that it is not. The word arm isn’t an arm. It doesn’t look like an arm. It doesn’t fulfill the function of an arm. It simply represents that part of one’s body.

Labels only represent aspects of us. They aren’t the real thing. People are more than units within categories.

I hope I never confuse the two. I hope I will always be able to see the person behind the labels.

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