Some labels are useful.
It’s good to know what the bottler considers a serving when buying juice.
A label that offers instructions is very helpful, particularly when trying to repair a flat tire.
But labels for people in the form of a diagnosis may be of little use or detrimental, so perhaps we should move slowly and deliberately when considering one that’s been applied to us.
Do we trust the source?
Were we already frightened when we went looking for outside information?
How about when we first heard the label?
Is acceptance of the label the answer to a long-held fear or worry?
Does it fill in a bunch of missing pieces?
Or does the label scratch at the back of our neck (figuratively)?
Is it ill-fitting but we still feel like we have to wear it?
...since I wasn’t interested in what they were teaching me, they had no responsibility to seek new or different ways to engage me.
With all of the information constantly directed at our receptors — our eyes and ears and mouth, our skin and our hearts and our minds — I am a bit suspect of labels like OCD and ADHD as panaceas for an inability to focus and concentrate.
I definitely believe that those conditions exist and people suffer from them.
But I wonder if, sometimes, they’re just easy to reach for and slap on anyone who has a hard time sitting still or is easily distracted.
Could the inability to focus be about hunger? Or thirst?
Some other condition?
I was often told that I wasn’t working to my potential as a child. But no one ever tried to engage my potential.
They just evaluated my disinterest as a failure on my part. As if, since I wasn’t interested in what they were teaching me, they had no responsibility to seek new or different ways to engage me.
I was even moved into a gifted child program for one year where I was charged with creating my own curriculum. I was ten years old at the time. Really? Left alone to teach myself at ten?!
I certainly worked to my potential when I was riding my bike, or playing little league, using my chemistry set, hunting frogs, or any number of other activities that drew me in and fed my imagination and desire to master something.
As an adult, in spite of my occasional under-achievement as a child, I’m engaged most of the time. Because now I have the confidence to trust myself and the ability to think critically. Neither of which I learned from a course in school. I may have picked it up while at a school, but it was never something that was directly taught to me.
So if you’ve been labeled, I want to suggest that you consider carefully the source of the label and if it really fits.
Are you willing to accept it because it’s easy?
Or because it’s accurate?
Do you feel empowered or defeated by the diagnosis?
Does it feel like a relief, like finally there’s a name for what you’ve been feeling all these years or do you feel labeled and trapped within the diagnosis?
When attempting to get organized, and applying these principles to move your life forward in a powerful and focused way, I don’t want you to let yourself off the hook with a simple label that singles you out and makes you ineligible for the benefits of an organized life.
There are workarounds for diabetes, and many other chronic conditions and diseases. There certainly are for ADHD and OCD.