From PREscriptive to DEscriptive

by Scott Noelle

Getting into a daily groove that is authentically your own requires a willingness to transcend the RULES and ROLES that dictate how you “should” live your life.

That means you will have to question the LABELS you assign to yourself and your relationships: parent, child, mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife, friend, lover, partner, family, clan, tribe, community, breadwinner, homemaker, professional, hobbyist, teacher, student, artist, fan, healer, visionary, recluse, life of the party, do-gooder, bad-ass, etc.

This is not to suggest that labels are inappropriate, but that they should DEscribe your life rather than PREscribe it.

For example, you may have a “friend” with whom you share so much of life and have such a profound bond that the word “family” is a more fitting description. The label “friend,” if unquestioned, would tend to prescribe the exclusion of that person from “family matters” even when including them would improve your collective daily groove.

Another example: My partner and I often avoid using the labels “husband” and “wife” even though we are married. For us, the word “partner” better describes the way we want to relate.

The labels “parent” and “child” have all kinds of limiting prescriptions piled on high. Of course children need certain parental roles to be fulfilled, but some culturally prescribed parental roles actually undermine the quality of parent-child relationships.

Improve Your Groove

Today, be mindful of the labels you’re assigning, the roles you’re playing, and the attitudes and behavior they tend to prescribe. Allow yourself to flow in and out of various roles that fit the circumstances, and choose labels that best describe who you want to be in the moment.

Originally published on 2013-01-23
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