Thursday, January 6, 2011

Judgment and Labeling

You walk into the closest store, eager to buy a jar of cherry jam. You see the jar, you read the label, you pay for it, take it home and, when you open it, it turns out to be strawberry jam and you hate strawberries! If food products were like relationships, this would’ve been something to happen each and every day. Thank God they aren’t, or else we’d be either starving, or lowering our eating standards a lot.

Labels are extremely necessary on our food products, but how necessary are they in a relationship and, most importantly, why? In the past couple of days, I ended up comparing men to ketchup. I have no idea why ketchup, maybe because the one in my fridge is starting to go empty. If you go to a store and you simply buy ketchup, it’s highly probable that once you’ll taste it, you won’t skyrocket cause of the awesome flavor. You accept it and you eat it the way it is and maybe every now and then wonder if there’s something better out there. Ketchup, in fact, is much more complex: sweet, spicy, bio, extra-hot, for pasta, for pizza, for chicken and, not to forget, all these made in various styles by various brands. And you Need a label there, to be able to choose what really suits your taste best. But, for every label to have served its purpose, first and foremost, you need to know exactly What you are looking for, because otherwise, you’ll just end up spending your life staring at well-labeled products and eventually picking something randomly.

It’s almost the same with men, only without the luxury of having an easy label on them for us to read and decide whether it’s good enough or not. It’s not just enough to say you want a ‘man’ in your life, that would be like saying you like ketchup, but haven’t the faintest idea what kind! Also, in this situation, it is wrong and risky to try to label a man after a brief overview. This is one of the most common mistakes women make (and probably men as well), trying their best to jump in a relationship as fast as possible once they find someone they think they’d like. Is it because of the fear of having the guy taken away by another woman in case you think about it too much? Or maybe the fear of being alone, or having the guy change his mind? Either way, we put senseless effort in trying to impress by apparently figuring out what that person would like to see in a potential partner, then trying to mold ourselves into it. Obviously, we’re getting labeled as well when we do that and it’s not the right label. The males, when they think they hit jackpot, also start going out of their way and brush up on their behavior and words, to make the same great impression, thus ending up being wrongly labeled as well. The fix to this is easy: just stop putting effort in trying to become something you’re not naturally built as, and put all that energy to good use in trying to know each other the way you really are.

Here’s what happens if you move on with this. Let’s say each partner is very happy about how he thinks their counterpart is and a relationship starts, based on what they think they know about eachother. Their expectations will have everything to do with the initial labels and so, obviously, one will expect either a lot more, or a lot more different things from the other. In time, the truth surfaces and it eventually reaches the point in which “You weren’t the person I fell in love with” is being tossed around like a frisbee. I’ve seen it happen all too many times. Many people don’t have the necessary patience in getting to know their potential partner before actually starting something, especially if there’s an insanely strong sexual attraction. From the point of view of efficiency, it’s something worth taking your time to do. “Label” your partner correctly, know him/her as s/he is, see what you can accept and what not, then decide if moving on is a good option. Do that, and you’ll have the perfect foundation for something greater. Neglect that and you’ll end up building in a swampy area with earthquakes and stampeding lemmings.

I know that labeling is considered a bad thing by most people. I agree that superficially labeling is a bad thing. Also, there isn’t a person who doesn’t label situations, relationships and people. It’s like saying that people shouldn’t judge. Everybody judges everybody and everything. It is a natural process of our mental integration in the world we live in, so as to be able to make decisions in life. Also, every person in their right mind will always respect and appreciate the ones who own the ability of good judgment. I think the idea of it being “wrong to judge” has emerged because of the majority of people letting out all sorts of statements based on wrong, harsh, interest-related, hateful, unfair judgment. But if all people were to analyze situations properly and, with a clear mind, make the right judgment, it would, in time, become something dearly socially accepted, instead of a stigmata of the dumb and pretentious.

I remember years ago, at a psychology course, we were told that the human being us unable of being anything but subjective. There will be some individuals who will try to rise above their very own condition and try to reach objectiveness, but without complete success. What these bright minds can succeed, is to earn an amazing viewpoint over their surroundings, which will give them the upper hand in many ways based on applying the understanding of how things work. This might make them seem they have reached an objective view, but one can never 100% exclude personal implication, and thus, one can never be 100% objective. The reason why I’m saying this is to reinforce the fact that judging and labeling are natural impulses that only become destructive when done improperly and for the wrong reasons.

The easiest thing to do is to judge or label wrongly. That’s where certain stereotypes emerge from. Like “dumb blondes”, “sex-deprived nerds”, “slutty cheerleaders”, “men with big nose/hands/feet = man with big penis”. It’s funny in a very sad way, that people still believe these stereotypes (and many more) and try to invoke them on and on because it obviously proves a vast knowledge of the world we live in (right?). Personally, I’ve met naturally blonde chicks who are very smart, I’ve met nerds that had a better sex life than other ‘normal’ people I knew, two cheerleaders who beneath all that cheery-cheer were hard working girls, studying hard to make a university career… as for the one about sizes, I’ll just say that it’s a myth and nothing more.

Bottom line on labeling and judging… if we can accept that it is something that we’re all doing, let’s at least try to do it right, without hurting ourselves and others. Maybe next time we want to label ourselves or those around us as something, it would be a great experience to try to give that view-point some depth (a lot of it) and reconsider our initial wording. Besides, how can we expect others to respect us as we are, when we’re not even trying to see them as they are or allow them to see us in-depth?

As a side-note, we created a Mischievous Sweethearts Facebook site in which we will be announcing new posts. Since the wonderful winter holidays are over, and both Daisy and I resumed work, the posting schedule is going to change. We’ll be having new posts on Tuesdays and Saturdays, which will sum up to a total of 4 posts per week. Of course, in case of an inspiration-emergency, there will be more posts at any hour, which we will announce on the Facebook site. So, feel free to join and let us know of opinions and suggestions!

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