People don’t come with Warning LabelsSep 27, 2023
“I bet you think this song (article) is about you don’t you! Don’t you! You’re so vain!”
(If you don’t recognize the song quote above, look up “Your so Vain” by Carly Simon)
If you think this article is about you...
It's not about a single person...
It’s about me!
It's about people in general.
And I guess that means it might also be about you!
You see, we are all these uniquely amazing human beings…
AND that uniqueness can really frustrate, anger, upset, and even hurt other people sometimes.
The truth is no matter who you are we all experience conflict in our relationships with other humans from time to time. Whether they are friendships, romantic relationships, business partnerships, or any other type that exists!
In the past few years, I’ve been through quite a few conflicts in my various relationships. Some were resolved. Some ended. Many have changed.
I’ve been hurt, angered, and frustrated (whether they meant to or not).
I’m also quite certain I’ve done the same to others (whether I meant to or not).
Which led me to the thought…
Wouldn’t it be great if people came with warning labels?
“Warning this person struggles with ADHD and they tend to procrastinate or switch from hyper focus to ignoring issues entirely without warning.”
“Warning this person is super emotional and can’t handle any criticism or they will burst into tears or hit back.”
“Warning this person gets really angry when frustrated and may yell or cut you off.”
“Warning this person is going through a lot right now, don’t push them harder or they may break.”
“Warning this person hasn’t slept recently and may make mistakes.”
“Warning this person experienced really tough things in their life and has a tough shell to breakthrough but is sensitive inside.”
I'm sure we could come up with millions of possible warning labels for every situation and wounded person in the world.
Part of me wishes people knew these types of things about me (and I about them) before entering into any type of relationship. I’m willing to bet a lot of conflict could be avoided if we understood the people we were engaging with better.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t even really know what warning labels we should put on ourselves. It’s painful to admit these types of challenges to ourselves let alone other people. Few people have truly looked in the mirror and considered this challenge.
Instead, we’d rather be seen as kind, fun, happy, considerate, compassionate, strong, funny, and generally in a positive way. Unless of course we are one of those who likes to have people fear us, then we will present with hostility.
At the root of this challenge is our own awareness of ourselves and how we are wired as a unique human being.
Self-awareness isn’t something you achieve it’s something you work on all the time. It’s the process of coming into the present and recognizing your current state including the warning labels you would be wearing if they existed.
Only once we have greater self-awareness can we truly navigate relationships with people whose warning labels we can’t easily read or see. Maintaining our marriages and friendships, managing our workplaces, and navigating interactions with others in our lives would be a whole lot easier if we had warning labels.
Although we don’t have clearly written warning labels, we do have an embodied sense of subconscious awareness. Our brains and bodies read those we are interacting with (faces, heart rate, body stance, etc.) and determine our safety in the moment.
Unfortunately, all our past programming and experiences have created clutter that often clouds out that information.
- We stay in a relationship we shouldn’t.
- We trust someone who is going to betray us.
- We fear someone and we don’t know why.
Developing our capability for being rather than doing helps us to better read these signals. By learning about embodied self and practicing it we can increase our being state of awareness. It’s as close as we can get to reading warning labels.
Want to truly create better relationships with your people in the workplace?
Want a better connection with your kids?
Want to experience a more magical marriage?
Want to navigate interactions more effectively?
It all starts with self-awareness…
I can’t start wearing a warning label, so instead…
- I will keep working on my self-awareness.
- I will keep working on creating the neural pathways that serve me better.
- I will keep working on learning to better read others and navigate those interactions.
And I’ll probably keep screwing up, learning, and trying again. That's what it means to be human if you embrace your personal evolution.
Most of us aren’t trying to hurt each other, we just can’t see or don’t know our warning labels or those of others we are interacting with regularly in our workplaces, families, and communities.
Want to discover your own warning labels?
Or get better at recognizing the warning labels of others?
You need to spend more time understanding your self-awareness.
And don't think for one second, you know all you need to know about yourself, Harvard Business Review's studies show 95% of people lack true self-awareness.
Want to see how self-aware you really are?
Take our Self-Awareness Self-Assessment to find out!
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