It starts at a young age. Schools encourage it. Our families help define it. We begin our lives with the labels they give us like big brother, baby sister, only child. And as we get older, they just get more serious.

Sometimes the way we’re perceived such as the “good one,” the “bad one,” the “troubled one,” the “drama queen,” inevitably follow us throughout the rest of our life. Sometimes these seemingly harmless labels take on a life of their own. If we don’t achieve our own sense of self, they begin to define who we are. And we grasp on tight.

These lyrics from the Barenaked Ladies song What a Good Boy reminds me of the pressures they can have on us:

“When I was born they looked at me and said
What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy
And when you were born they looked at you and said
What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl

We’ve got these chains that hang around our necks
People want to strangle us with them before we take our
first breath.”

I think it’s easy to get caught up in the roles that people give us. It’s just as easy to accept the false identities we give ourselves. It takes courage to step out of these labels, but discovering who we really are and loving and accepting that person without judgment may be the key to living your own life, label-free.

Hope you have a great weekend! *And remember to vote for your favorite SXSW 2012 Interactive panel ideas here.

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