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©susanirenefox

©susanirenefox

What is the cost of revealing who I am?

Will you now view me as a label? Will all you knew about me before dissolve in the revelation of the label I revealed on Monday? Have you put me in a box I wasn’t in before?

How often do we glue labels onto people and never see past the labels to their hearts?

How often do we have a relationship with someone only to discover they are something or have something, and suddenly we attach a label and the label nullifies the reality of our relationship?

How often do we have preconceived notions of a word that skews our perception of people to the extent our understanding of them perpetuates inaccuracies of their wholeness for generations?

3d-pie-chartThe blue portion of the pie chart to the left is our assumptions. The red portion is what we don’t know about an individual member of a group of people about whom we have preconceived opinions based on distorted ideas. These ideas can come from adopting flawed historical perspectives, from biased talking heads or simply from “group think” rather than taking the time and initiative to conduct our own research and reflection, and form our own relationships.

Research

We must begin to do our own research, looking at both sides of an issue, weighing our own values against so-called labels. We must discern truth and reality from hyperbole, fiction and yellow journalism (journalism based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration to attract readers).

Reflection

We must begin to move from automatic reaction and anger toward reflection and seeking common ground. If we don’t, we will never discover the truth in what we don’t know. We will remain in ignorance and denial, and continue to base our decisions and relationships on slices of partial truth. We must be willing to do the work it takes to look in the mirror and tell the truth about ourselves.

Relationship

We must establish and consider our own relationships with individuals and how deeply those relationships pull on our hearts. We must be willing to take a deeper look into the wider area of the pie chart in order to expand our understanding and find common ground. We must be willing to tear down walls and build bridges into unknown territory one person at a time.

Illness, pain and decades of hurt are invisible. Extending the hand of understanding comes down to putting fear aside and offering a crumb of compassion, a morsel of love. It’s a choice we make to to stop pretending to ignore the suffering of others.

It’s how we begin to come together, one person at a time.

19 comments

  1. Well said, Susan. Each person is unique, so judging someone by a label is as foolish as putting on a pair of muddy glasses and expecting to see clearly. Whether we’re talking about Lupus, autism,mental illness, or anything at all, each person’s strengths and limitations will be their own unique experience.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Absolutely, Wendy, as well as each person’s pain and hurt. We cannot see beyond that experience until we choose to get to know someone individually. That is when common ground will be discovered and eyes will be opened heart to heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I pray that no one does attach labels to you! All you need to know is that you are a wonderful woman who loves the Lord and that’s all they need to see in you! 🙂 ❤

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    1. Thank you, Natalie. It’s clear to me you fully see through God’s eyes. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I try my best to see through His eyes Susan. I don’t succeed sometimes but that’s the plight of man in a fallen world. With you it’s easy❣️😘

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  3. Søren Kierkegaard once said, “Once you label me you negate me.” It’s really an evil thing when you think about it. We reduce a unique and precious life down to a term or thing. That’s why what you’re saying is SO important, Susan. If I’m going to label at all, I will label this post as brilliant and you as a beloved sister in Christ! 🙂

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    1. Wow, thanks, Mel. Love the Kierkegaard quote. It elevates this post and adds a wonderful exclamation point! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well written and very true, Susan. We do need facts before we make decisions about people and situations. We need to be careful not to judge anyone even when we disagree with them about anything. It is our duty as one human to another to get along as best we can…(Romans 12:18).

    Steve

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    1. Right, Steve. It’s both biblical and simply the right thing to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right, Susan. Usually we find that God’s way IS simply the right way to do things…

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  5. Hi, I did wish you on fb for your bday.
    Dont think you got it.
    Nice post Susan. Nice to see you are still going well on your writing! 🙂
    People are very wuick to assume the intent of our words and acyions are they not?
    Cannot strike a chord with everyone. 😉

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    1. 🙂 Thank, B. I don’t get to fb very often anymore. I will go check it out. Yep, still pluggin’ away. 🙂

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      1. Good to hear! 🙂

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  6. […] via Labels — Susan Irene Fox […]

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    1. Thank you, Vincent. ❤

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  7. Opening the closet door … ? I love seeing more blue on the pie-chart! I love less assumptions. It allows me to feel safer opening my doors. ((hugs))

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    1. Thanks, Paul. So important to stop making assumptions about individuals and groups. We truly need to make the effort to get to know people, one on one. This post creates a bridge from Monday’s post to Friday’s post, which Lilka writes so beautifully.

      Liked by 1 person

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