FIND YOUR IDENTITY, NOT YOUR LABEL

By Mohan Karulkar:

There was a time in my life when I resented being called a nerd. Back then, it was synonymous with teacher's pet, overachiever, and curve breaker.  I felt isolated and alienated by that little n-word.  I was trapped in a box.

Fast-forward to college, and that label started to take on a different meaning. “Nerd” started being synonymous with words like focused, driven, and high-potential.  I got scholarships, which lightened the financial load. I was a pretty good tutor, which made me kinda popular.  I found other "nerds," and we embraced the label.  We took it back.  This nerd you cannot chain!

Except...we were still chained.  There were clothes we didn't wear, music we didn't listen to, sports we didn't play, girls we didn't approach, bars we didn't go to, majors we didn't pursue...it goes on and on.  We had a bigger box ... a nicer box ... but it was still a box.  The sky wasn't the limit. 

The thing is, embracing a label and making it your own doesn't change the fact that it's still a LABEL -- that falls far short of describing who you really are.  I mean, we don't actually believe that one word, or two, or even three, can fairly describe the entirety of a man, do we?

So to all you (us) coffee snobs, hipsters, Jesus-freaks, and Skyrim geeks: I think it might be time to cut it out.  The labels, no matter how empowering they may seem, will always be the walls of a box.  Labels make you less of a person, not more. 

Don't find your label; find your IDENTITY.  It’s not to be found in adjectives or nouns, but in things intangible ─ things that are universal and timeless.  Things like love, and faith, and relationship, and art. Things you sweat over, bleed over, even die over.

If you MUST name it, pick the one on your passport.  Let your life speak for itself.

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