One of my wonderful yoga teachers, Rachel, made a comment during class that I think is profound. She said, “A big part of freedom is having fun, so let’s play!”
Yet it is very human to deprive ourselves of this freedom when we label ourselves as too boring, too shy, too loud, too out-of-shape, too poor, too this, too that… and the list goes on and on. And on and on. And on!
Probably around fourth grade, I labeled myself as having a disability and promptly forgot I had done the labeling. When I spoke, I heard a disabled person. Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who was disabled. My declaration of disability was much like metaphorically sticking my foot in wet cement and waiting for it to harden. With my foot stuck in cement, I did not have to take full responsibility for playing and having fun in life. I could just tell myself and other people, “I can’t move. I’m helpless.”
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. I was telling the father of one of my good friends, who immigrated from Denmark as a young man, the story of my speech impediment and how I let it limit me in the past. He couldn’t believe it saying, “You just speak with an accent like me.”
Being who I am now, I totally see his point. I speak with a unique accent and am fortunate that people now understand me the vast majority of the time.
I also feel for the kid I once was who labeled himself as having a disability and forgot he had done the labeling.
If I had a time machine, I would love to go back and gently tell the kid I once was to relax his hold on the label of disability. I would tell him to listen to his family, friends and teachers who had confidence in him. I would also tell him to get a jump-start on activities like yoga and Laughter Yoga that would show him that he was not the huge limitations he created for himself in his mind. Lastly, I would remind that kid to play and have fun instead of being so serious much of the time.
That kid was very stubborn in his views however. I would have my work cut out for me!
Game For The Day
Think about a limiting label you placed on yourself in the past that over time you found was not accurate. What people and activities helped you to disprove this label?
Think of a limiting label you currently place on yourself. What are some alternate, more uplifting ways to view yourself? Have friends and family been trying to tell you this label is not accurate? What activities could help you disprove this label for yourself?