Discover the fascinating power of labels, how liberating it is to let them go and move into harnessing positive transformation for life.
Have you, or someone close to you, ever been told you have a health condition which you now feel defines who you are and how you see life? Researchers have found that these kinds of diagnosis can deeply affect our health. Do you feel you’d like to break away from the restraints of the health label you have been given? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are not alone.
Healthcare professionals use labels to classify individuals for treatment and for research purposes, but, despite obvious benefits research suggests we can get ‘locked in’ to limiting labels. These can also act as cues to create stereotypes, stigmas and can often be detrimental to the individuals’ ongoing road to recovery, by describing ‘who’ we are rather than looking at what we ‘currently have’. Health labels quite often reinforce symptoms such as low self-esteem, anxiety, distress, and lack of confidence, which quite often has a big impact on various aspects of life such as work, exercise levels, the ability to parent and socialise.
Spotting the signs of labelling
Human brains love finding patterns – even when they are not there! We have a tendency to find shortcuts. Nobel prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman noted that when faced with complex questions and scenarios, humans will simplify these. For example, take the recent US election – “Has Trump alienated the US electorate to such an extent that different demographics have come together to vote him out, overturning the solid turnout of his hardcore voting base?” Becomes the simpler question: “If they’re saying he didn’t win, then it must be fraud, right?”.
You may have noticed people describing others as ‘a sick person’, ‘weak’, ‘a headachy person’, ‘an anxious person’, ‘shy’, ‘clumsy’, ‘hyperactive’ or describing specific aliments such as having a ‘weak back’, dodgy lungs’ etc.? You may have even caught yourself using these phrases. If so, it is always good to bear in mind that this is a simpler, but not very accurate way of thinking or describing health, when there are multiple interactions occurring throughout the mind and body.
What you can do to avoid feeling ‘stuck’ and move into a positive transformation for life
An excellent step is to learn to use the ‘dû’. The what? Well, this strange-looking word is a verb that I had to develop that helps people find new ways to think about their future.
Let me explain a bit about how I came to create it. When listening to people talking about the problems in their lives you can often hear what are called ‘passive statements’. “I am stressed by the Coronavirus” is a good example of this; it’s ‘passive’ because there’s not much they can do about their stress until the virus goes away or time passes. So in effect, they seem to be left powerless by circumstances that are beyond their control, and there is a sense of being stuck with the problem.
These passives seemed to make people suffer and make life more difficult for them. I developed the dû as it just didn’t seem fair that people had to put up with these kinds of situations and problems. Clearly, neither they nor I could change the things like the Coronavirus, but I wondered, would it help to turn this passive into an active?
There just didn’t seem to be an easy way of doing this using existing words, so I had to create a new word to describe this change.
Let me give an example:
To change “I am stressed” from a passive to an active, we need to use the new verb dû. It has a similar meaning to ‘do’ except the û signifies that although the person is involved in this situation at some level, however, the involvement is at an unconscious and unintentional level. This means they are not to blame for it in any way, but because they are involved at a certain level, they do have the power to influence what happens next.
So “I am stressed”
“I am ‘dûing’ stress”
People often feel that when they say it this way it’s almost as though a little gap appears in the way they see things. Suddenly a new possibility appears that maybe we don’t have to be powerless, maybe we can stop ‘dûing’ stress and instead start doing (consciously and intentionally) something that will make our lives better.
People have successfully used the ‘dû’ throughout the last two decades to change and improve their health, their relationships, and their futures. You too can you start to apply this theory today. Harness the power of the ‘dû’ to see what you can do!
Here are some resources for you to access: