• Tengu Muna

Letting Go of the Labels We Have on Ourselves

This blog is about this simple question: “What if I let go of the labels I have on myself?”

“I just paid my bill,” my 69-year-old mother said. I nearly fell out of my chair when I learned she had paid it electronically.

My mother is very tech savvy. She sends me YouTube videos, and I send her money that she retrieves online by logging into a portal through my bank. For some reason, my mother couldn’t get the concept of paying bills online.

She would literally hop into her car and drive to the physical location to pay a bill, or she would mail her bills in physically. After two companies told her they no longer accepted mailed-in bill payments, she panicked. I taught her how easy it was to pay the bill online, but she still had some trouble.

After she told me about her achievement, I was so excited. I was excepted because I know that, when you let go of the labels you put on yourself, you can do amazing things. In my mother’s case, she had finally let go of her ways. She was no longer going to be the person who mailed in her check or paid it in person. Instead, she resolved that she would learn a new way of paying her bills. My mother let go of the concept of the person who couldn’t pay her bills online.

This blog is about this simple question: “What if I let go of the labels I have on myself?” In my case, what if I let go of the concepts I cling to? What if I let go of the labels of entrepreneur, author, yogini, pharmaceutical research consultant, sister, sibling, daughter, and global traveler? These are all concepts I cling to. I think that’s really who I am, but there is something in the yoga sutras that talks about our purusha, or our soul, and how it is a form that never changes.

What if I let go of the labels I have on myself?

As I’ve grown, matured and moved through this planet, I’ve changed so much. I was a student in Canada, then I was with the United Nations. All of these different things and experiences were and are fluid and changing, but there is the self that is deep within me that is moving through this planet – I would call it the “observer” – that never has changes and never will.

Society was practically built off of labels. We label people based on everything from gender to diseases they have. If someone says “I have restless leg syndrome,” we label that person with that disease. We decide what we think they can and can’t do based on this label. We have all kinds of labels.

What if we let go of some of these labels, who would we find? I am a mother who takes care of my children, I am a yogini, an executive or a CEO, a lawyer, a doctor, a street cleaner, or a translator. All of those labels that we put on ourselves. While these labels are good and are a great way to identify ourselves and our skill sets, clinging to a title can hinder our true potential. If I only see myself as an international chess player, then I’m limiting my capacities as a human being. The universe has gifted us so many skills, abilities, and talents that are there to expand upon.

You put yourself into a kind of box. You define yourself as only having skill sets that fit your career or your passions. You close yourself off, or box yourself in, to what you are already skilled at or experienced in instead of exploring the abilities within you that may have nothing to do with what you label yourself as. You could be a doctor who has amazing writing abilities. That has nothing to do with your capability to take care of a patient, but it is an ability.

The Universe has gifted us so many skills, abilities, and talents that are there to expand upon.

For years, I was a pharmaceutical research consultant. That was me: a monitor, a side manager, a project manager. I clung to that label for a very long time. I began thinking that I wasn’t defined by that. That wasn’t me. I started practicing yoga, and the whole journey has led me to be an entrepreneur, an author, and doing so many interesting things because I learned to let go of my label.

Each day, I realize more and more that I have skills, talents, and abilities that have gone unused. I label myself as an entrepreneur because its vague. I do so many different things now that it’s like the universe has forced my hand and said “you’re just going to have to stay an entrepreneur. How else will you explain all the different things you do?

That is today’s idea. Begin looking at yourself as a 360-degree human being. It really is a waste to spend time being a 10-degree human being only doing one thing. When we begin seeing ourselves as more than the labels we use, we open the door for something more amazing to come through. This is the same concept of aparigraha, which is non-attachment. Things are a lot simpler and easier when I stop gripping and release my label. Now, the energy that comes in brings something more to me.

That’s what I want to think about today. What if you just dropped the label? Instead of saying “I’m a manager” or “I’m an athlete” or whatever it is you have to label yourself as, why not tell others what other skills and talents you have? If you let go of the label, what else could you do? What else could you become? What new things can you allow into your life that you have not thought of because you hang on, so dearly, to this label?

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