This video is about acting a certain way vs being a certain way, and there is a huge difference.

Let’s break this down here. When we are small, we are told things about ourselves. We are categorized. We are put into categories by characteristic. For example, I was told when I was young that I was bossy.

I don’t know which direction it goes. Was I already bossy and so that’s how I ended up with that label and I just keep being how I was? Did I do some bossy things and then get told I was bossy so I just kept being bossy? It doesn’t really matter. When you tell someone they are a certain way, it is kind of like a permission slip to be that way. I was told I was bossy so I just went through my life bossing people around.

Something else I was told was that I was smart. I looked around and most of the evidence looked to me like I was smart, so I believed that about myself. I believed I was smart. To this day, that is something I just believe about myself. And I acted the way a smart person would act.

Something that I was never told was that I was lazy. I was never called lazy, so I never believed that about myself. Here’s the difference. I can go do something lazy, but I would never think of myself as being lazy.

Those self-concepts and categories are so strong that we can go do thing after thing after thing that should prove it wrong, and we still don’t change it. I could go do dumb thing after dumb thing after dumb thing and I’m not going to suddenly think, “You know what? I’m not smart. I’m dumb.” I won’t. I still believe I’m smart.

The person who was told they were lazy can go to a productive thing over and over and over and all of that evidence isn’t necessarily going to change their thought about themselves that they’re lazy. They can say, “Gosh, look at me being productive.” But it’s never that they change who they believe they are.

These are very strong categories. So what is the problem with that? It’s that they separate us. Sometimes they appear to unify us. “Let’s hang out, all us smart people.” But if all of the smart people are hanging out, then all of the dumb people are outside of that. That’s a big circle that leaves people outside of it.

Sometimes we’re just noticing how we’re different. If I’m this way, then you are that way. We are different. I’m not finding a way that we are similar, a way that we can connect and be unified. I’m looking for how my categories are different than your categories. That prevents love flow.

We do this to people that we meet. We meet somebody and they do something and we think, “Hmm. That’s a selfish thing to do.” And then they do something else and we think, “Hmm. Another selfish thing.” And after a few times, we change it. We actually change it in our head to, “They’re selfish.” Now we’ve dumped them into a category. That’s a selfish person.

And it’s usually not because we recognize it in ourselves. It’s usually because we’re saying, “I am not that way. But you are this way.” So you can feel the wall go up and that wall is separating us. As long as we are looking for ways we’re different and ways that we are similar to a few but different from other people, we are creating walls that prevent us from loving and block love from flowing in and out.

We put this box around ourselves and decide that this is who we are. No matter what I do or what other evidence there is, this is who I am. And we believe this about ourselves, instead of deciding that I don’t want that box and I don’t want any of those concepts and I want total freedom to be able to go be smart, be dumb, be lazy, be motivated, act kind, act selfish. Those actions don’t define me and who I am. I am not those things. Those are the way I am acting. But we really have to let go of all of this stuff we’ve been told that we are. Because we don’t have to be that. We don’t have to be that.

That’s my question to you. What label were you given? What category were you put in that you’ve been holding onto and that no matter what you do to the contrary, you keep calling yourself that. Even if it’s smart. You’re still putting a label on yourself. Especially the ones that are negative, what are the things you still consider yourself that you would like to let go of?

And another question is…when you look at the people in your life, what labels are you putting on them? What are you saying they are and holding them to that “who” instead of just how they’re acting or how they’re behaving? What labels are you using for other people that you’d like to dump and get rid of so that you can just have love flow between you? Without separation. Without deciding if we are similar or different. Just that we all are. And we can all have love flowing.

That’s my question for you today. What label are you carrying around that doesn’t belong to you that you want to get rid of? And what’s a label that you’ve put on somebody else that you’re ready to dump and free them from so that we can have more love flowing in our relationships between us and other people and to ourselves?