Gestalt psychotherapist Beron, in her debut self-help book, examines the positive and negative impacts of being socially labeled and how such labels shape one’s feelings, thoughts and behavior.
“The power of labels is like an invisible pressure...which intercepts our thoughts and actions, distorts beyond recognition the mirror...and makes us vulnerable to the pain of the past and the fear of the future,” asserts the author in the book’s foreword. Although people may acquire labels at any age, Beron contends that most first appear in childhood and come from such sources as classmates, teachers, parents and friends. She briefly describes the Gestalt theory of psychotherapy, which emphasizes personal responsibility, and uses it as a basis for exploring ways that people may assume positive control over their lives. Beron reminds readers that people may be labeled in direct and indirect ways, with or without cruel intent, due to name-calling, nicknames or comparison to others. What’s important, then, is how people believe such characterizations and how they become a part of their identities. In turn, those conceptions of identity influence people’s thoughts and habits and may deter them from changing their lives. “It doesn't even cross our minds that we can change something within us...it is easier to say: ‘I am like that,’ ” Beron writes. She effectively encourages readers to delve into their pasts to remember the origins of negative labels; she stresses that when children are victims of name-calling, they’re too emotional and immature to question such characterizations and, instead, simply believe them. She also engagingly explores how adults, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, aren’t immune to family, peer-group and media labels.
A helpful, hopeful and thorough guide that invites readers to change the images in their mirrors.