Every day we are bombarded with adverts for brands wanting us to buy their products. Companies rely on us instantly recognising their brand. Within seconds we can tell whether something is going to be good or not. We are conditioned to be able to tell which are luxurious brands and which are best to avoid.

Labels matter.

I wanted to see this morning if you can recognise these brands from their logos…

Every day we can fall into the trap of labelling people and groups in society much like we do our coffee and clothing; seeing some as being important while others are reduced to being worthless.

Whether it’s the online comment or tweet about the people we choose to be in a relationship with

The insult thrown across a classroom or corridor about how we look or the clothes we wear

Whether it’s the inner voice telling ourselves we’re not good enough

Or when our opinions are ignored because of the colour of our skin or because of our gender.

Labels seem painfully hard to avoid.

I wonder what labels people use to describe and define you?
I wonder what labels you use to describe others?
I wonder which labels you use to describe yourself?
I wonder which labels are justified?
And I wonder which of our labels need to be challenged?

River Island recently ran an anti-bullying campaign called ‘Labels are for Clothes – not for people’. It was a reminder that we should treat everyone with respect and that we should celebrate diversity. 



The campaign challenges the stereotypes we sometimes hold and is also a reminder about some of the messages we should embrace. It echoes what has been called ‘The Golden Rule’ a principle that is central to many religions including Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.

So, I want you to look at the person sitting beside you. Have a good looking paying close attention – and know that:

We all have a life
A story – that plays out in public and behind the scenes
We all have changing moods
Things that we wait for and are excited about
We all have worries & fears that we carry around like a heavy schoolbag

And while each one of us is different and unique
We all have value and worth
We are more than our labels
And so in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you

My challenge this morning is to find one person in these next few days and show them an act of kindness. It might be something grand or something as small as putting some change in a cup. It might even be taking the opportunity to share with a friend something they are really good at.

Take the opportunity to see beyond the labels we sometimes define people by and in doing so challenge the stereotypes that often going unquestioned. 

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