Sounds harsh, right?
In most cases there were no negative consequences intended by those parents and teachers making definitive statements about the nature of their charges.
"She's so stubborn."
Translation: She is not doing what I want.
Intention: Get her to change.
Result: That child grows up struggling with the label of being unreasonable e.g. stubborn.
Here's another one:
"He's so selfish."
Translation: He's not acting like I want.
Intention: Shame him into changing.
Result: He grows up feeling and often acting selfish.
We could say those adults were well intentioned, but the end result is that they drummed negative labels into young, impressionable minds.
Unfortunately, those youngsters often grow up accepting the reality of these labels, or fighting an uphill battle to reject them.
DANCE WITH IT! EXPERIENTIAL APPS
An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas…
THE SET UP
"You are so___(fill in the blank)______."
Can you remember hearing these words?
1) Make a list of the descriptive labels that you were given.
2) How do you think these labels have affected you?
3) Now imagine yourself being told the exact opposite.
How does this feel?
4) Breathe deeply. Now imagine growing up with positive labels.