• Dawn Ali

Who You Say I Am: Labels and Stereotypes

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

Identity In Labels And Stereotypes

Do you let what you look like or things you have done define your identity?

Stereotypes and labels have never really felt right for me. It is almost like passing a judgement on them. It is like we are putting chains on people when those chains have already been broken. We hear quotes like don’t judge a book by its cover and that is true for people.

When I think of judgement I immediately think of what the Bible says on judging others.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Mathew 7:1-2

We all have different qualities and characteristics yet the thought is often how to group people together. What is wrong with just saying what people do rather than putting them in a box with a label on it? How do characteristics define people? A group of characteristics will never define the fullness of each individual. As a believer and follower of Christ I know that we are one with God.

Jesus prays this for all believers.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20

Overcoming The Labels

Labeling and Stereotyping has never sat well in my soul. Being called different things because of the way I do things or how I looked has always felt limiting.

Throughout parts of my childhood I was made fun of and called different names. I was often called an Oreo due to the way I talked and the things I liked people would say I was black on the outside and white on the inside.

As soon as I became pregnant as a teen, I was immediately thrown in this box of stereotypes of unreliable teen moms. People said that I was too young to have a child and could not raise a child and pursue college. I was told my life was over.

I was so scared to tell people in the church that I was pregnant because I was not married. I allowed other perceptions cloud who I was in that moment. I had to become better not a sinner. I was ashamed and knew more judgement was coming my way.

These labels and stereotypes would make me feel misunderstood and frustrated. There is something in them that would lower my self confidence and cause confusion of who I am. I would feel as if people were limiting me based on their own perceptions.

Being stuck in what they say about me was not conducive to who I wanted to be so I began to tune them out and tuned up faith.

Faith was my saving grace through these times. It has always helped me to see past the labels and the stereotypes that others have placed on me. Instead of believing in what others would say I would turn to the Word and meditate on these verses from the Bible.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

The thought of, I am not what someone labels me, has always been in my mind. I knew that I was not confined to what people say about me because I know I am never on my own.

In The Beginning is a poem I wrote to describe how God is with me through the every beginning. Even though I fall into the earthly realm, my faith rises me to the heavenly realm in knowing everything is for His glory.

Recovery And Being Saved From Labels

If there is anything in your life that you want to be freed from stop calling yourself it. The world teaches that once you have done something that you will remain that very thing until you pass.

For an example if someone drinks a lot of alcohol we have a tendency to classify them as an alcoholic versus just saying they drink an excessive amount of alcohol. Even when they stop drinking they are then labeled an alcoholic in recovery.

Why have something that you recovered from follow you when you have already been redeemed. The chains have been broken. You have been set free. You have been saved.

The Bible teaches that price was already paid and once you accept Christ you are released.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who love me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Focusing On And Growing Unconditional Love

Lets help release others. By seeing people through the lens of God. Through Unconditional Love.

Throughout the Bible God calls us to show love to one another.

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

What you focus on will begin to grow. Why not grow love. You magnify what you focus on. Why not magnify love? By focusing on all that you love in yourself and in every individual that is what you begin to grow.

Outward Self

Not listening to what people have told me about who I was and what I could do but listening to God, has helped me create Outward Self.

Outward Self was created to connect with individuals, communities and companies to help expand consciousness, through minimizing confusion and building confidence. We share mindfulness practices, knowledge, and I Am affirmations to help you live a life freedom.

Breaking free of physical limitations and empowering others to create the life one desires, is the vision of Outward Self.

We all have that inner desire to live a life of freedom but the challenge comes in understanding the necessary steps to take in order to achieve that inner desire God has placed on our hearts.

Outward Self connects you to the process of being mindful and I AM Affirmations so you can begin projecting your inner self Outward.

Learn more about Outward Self and my story here on www.outwardself.com

I AM Affirmations

Being free from what people say about you and knowing what The Great I AM says about you will help you in creating the life He has placed inside of you.

I AM affirmations help validate and affirm who I am in this moment.

An affirmation is a desire stated in the present tense terms as if it is already manifest in our lives. They are statements we make about our being and our lives.

Through the power of the Great I AM we are limitless as He is limitless.

I created an alphabetical picture book entitled, I AM WHATEVER I SAY I AM, that uses I AM affirmations to inspire imagination and helps connect you to the power of I AM.

You can purchase or donate a copy on Amazon or the book website.

I also have a free eBook of 15 I AM affirmations to help you build confidence in who you are on the Outward Self website.

Continuously Breaking Through Labels

My goal is to help each of you in becoming all that God has in store for each of you just as I am becoming all He has for me.

Breaking through labels and stereotypes is a continuous practice and I am still working through them. Just like most things you want to get better at you have to practice.

Have you ever heard that you can’t be good at Math and English?

This is something I once heard at a young age and it left me not wanting to write for many years. I believed that because of the way my brain was it was impossible to do both and I did not need to try.

Even though I understood that everything is possible, I held this belief as putting thought to words was always more challenging.

I sold myself on an excuse that was made up. I went through most of my life using this as an excuse and I never practiced to get stronger. Practice this was all I needed.

Sometimes all it takes is finding your passion and then working out your weakness in order to make it strong.

Here I am today. With a published book of affirmations and writing my first blog.

Is it the best writing or the most grammatically correct? Maybe … Maybe not.

Does it help you to understand why labels and stereotypes are not important? Hopefully so.

If it helps you in any way. Please share!

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