Beyond Labels: A Rose by Any Other Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare

People seem to get caught up in this idea of being labeled. I’m not sure when it happened exactly or why there’s been such a cultural shift, but when I was growing up I was so anti-establishment that I didn’t want any label attached to me.

I remember how devasted I was when I first tried Pandora, that music service and their stupid genome, all this time I thought my eclectic taste was so damn unique, but apparently, not all that much.

That quote above is from Romeo and Juliet, and basically means that you are what you are, you can’t change the label on it, it doesn’t change the important thing, the you. Whether it’s politics, religion, or pronouns, always remember that tacking labels on yourself or on someone else, doesn’t change the nature of the person. In many ways, people identify more with the labels than they do with some basic principles.

Every day you see this with Politicians, whether it’s Republican or Democrat, if one in their party makes a mistake or even does criminal activities, they’ll immediately jump and defend them. Now consider this: Maybe we should be focusing more on actions and character, those are the essence of who we really are.

So, here’s a radical thought. Let’s ditch those labels. Let’s stop using them as shortcuts to understand people, as an excuse not to get to know them better. Instead, let’s pay attention to the actions, the deeds, the behaviors. As Shakespeare taught us, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It’s not about what it’s called, but about what it is.

In essence, you are you. Not a label. Not a box. Not a convenient category. You are your actions, your values, your character. Remember this when you start to identify too closely with a label, or when you quickly judge others based on theirs. Let’s take a step back and appreciate the unique essence that each one of us carries, no matter what label the world tries to stick on us.

So here’s to ditching labels and paying attention to who we are and what we do, because at the end of the day, we’re all individuals, with our own thoughts, actions, and quirks. Now isn’t that a sweeter way to smell a rose?

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