THE TYRANNY OF SELF-IMPOSED LABELS
The process of labeling becomes particularly damaging when we get into the habit of defining ourselves in terms of self-labels. Greek mythology tells of the demigod Procrustes, who would invite travelers to spend the night and sleep in his bed. When the travelers were too small for his bed, he “fixed” the problem by stretching their limbs, while amputation was the solution for those who were too tall. In the same way, if we are not vigilant, our self-labels can become a procrustean bed of our own making. Once applied, these labels soon become a dominant part of the self-narratives that we construct for ourselves, causing us to distort or amputate any aspect of ourselves that falls outside these self-imposed limitations. At some point we emerge from the bed like some amnesic alcoholic, pleasantly surprised at how well the “facts” now seem to fit, but denying the part we played in their warped creation.
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