It came as an accusation but now it’s a label I embrace. This is my story of embracing your label.
I’m a social butterfly.
It was sixth grade and I was on the yearbook staff. The yearbook was in its final phase of production and I was told to take a certain pile of pictures and cut the people out to make a collage for a two-page spread.
I went through the stack, happily cutting and completely oblivious to the fact that I was cutting the GOOD pictures, not the discarded pictures.
The next day, the two yearbook advisers took me behind our classroom building and raked me over the coals, accusing me of being a “social butterfly” because I was too busy talking and socializing to pay attention to which stack was which. I was shocked and embarrassed and only in the last several years have I been able to let that memory go.
I certainly hadn’t done it on purpose. Looking back I realize that it’s likely that one of THEM had mislabeled the piles. Maybe I had been distracted and didn’t pay attention to which pile was which but I still felt unjustly accused and humiliated. I never meant to cause a problem.
Either way, being labeled a “social butterfly” scarred me.
Carrying the label into adulthood, it took on a negative connotation–like I was scatter-brained, shallow or flaky.
It’s true–I love meeting new people. I enjoy small talk AND deep discussions and I find people endlessly fascinating. I also “put myself out there” and accept nearly every friend request on Facebook because I’m a learner and teacher and I’m always trying to get better at my people skills and communication techniques.
I AM a social butterfly.
I flit from flower to flower, giving away chocolate and trying to make people smile. I host events, introduce and connect people to each other and take almost any opportunity to be around like-minded individuals.
And yes, I have a million thoughts in my head at any given moment. I over-commit to things because I love helping people. I am fun-loving and I refuse to take myself seriously…all of which could be perceived as shallow or flaky.
BUT. Now, at 36, I make money teaching people about social media, networking and presenting themselves to the world authentically. I have many friends, some surface-level and some deep and I have even made friends with people I admired from afar not long ago. I live a very rich life surrounded by hundreds of amazing people–all because I’m a “social butterfly.”
Labels don’t means anything…unless you want them to. Embracing your label is liberating.
We’re grown-ups now, so we can redefine ourselves any way we choose. But I choose to take the “social butterfly” label as a compliment.
Take THAT, sixth grade yearbook advisers–this social butterfly found her wings.
Do you need help redefining yourself, or shedding the labels from the past? Maybe you need to embrace the labels that speak to who you really are–good and bad. Contact me if you’d like to do some brainstorming about how to embrace YOUR labels.