We form our perception of self from various places. As children we look at our parents, and siblings and see how we are like them and different. In a effort to get a grasp on where things fit into our world (then later the world in general) we instinctively we being to compare. We can see that we are “shorter”, “taller”, “thinner”, “heavier” then our siblings. We see that we have our mother’s nose, our father’s eyes, and a combination of their personality traits. All this is quite normal and natural. As our circle expands and we begin to go to school, we have teachers, and schoolmates to take in and size up. We start to see who we through the categorization of the characteristics of others, and of our own. We learn that certain children in school are “unruly” which makes them “bad” some are “smart” some are “funny” some are “pretty” some “sweet” some “annoying”.
Adjectives as they stand alone are just words. However it is in the way people respond to and react to these words, that give them power.
It has been shown through scientific study that people who are considered to be “Pretty” get preferential treatment. Dr. Gordon Patzer, dean of the College of Business Administration at Roosevelt University has studied what is called the Physical Attractiveness Phenomenon (PAP) for over 30 years. In writing about physical attractiveness he states:
“People are valued more who are higher in physical attractiveness. As distasteful at that might be, that’s the reality.”
When we see children/people who are considered cute or beautiful doted on (and we are not ) it makes us feel a certain way about them but more importantly about ourselves.
As we grow “Adjectives” are attached to each and every one of us. It starts at home, if you have siblings almost immediately “The Ones” start, the “smart” one, the “rebellious” one, the “focused” one, the “irresponsible” one. The way that our family members react to us and treat us relative to those adjectives, informs us as to who we are and what our worth is. These labels become an integral part of the bedrock of our foundation and who we become. Whether the adjective is deemed positive or negative there is something within us that instinctively wants to live up to it, partially because people hold us in that place and we are boxed and sense the limitations (or conversely the expansion) of then by them.
The T’ruth of the Matter is that we don’t have to be defined by the negative or limiting Adjectives assigned to us, even if they are true, even if we earned them ,or we feel they are a true representation of who we are.
We have the power of self definition within us. We have the power tell people who we are, and not merely accept who they think us to be.
We can take the power of these labels away by reverting them back to their original forms, we can turn them BACK into Words. We can then choose new adjectives ones that better describe who we are, (not just what the world sees) or better yet, we can choose adjectives that represent who we would like to be and then prove ourselves right by transforming ourselves. We can go from “The irresponsible one” to “responsible” by challenging ourselves be present in our lives and do what is necessary to manage our lives. We have the power we just have to learn to use it.