Despite people eager to label themselves or the culture around them, labelling is still potentiality dangerous for some people. Dr. David Burns highlighted this in his work on the “Feeling Good” handbook, he expanded on the work of Aaron T Beck in the 1970s to help people summarise painful thoughts that caused, anxiety, anguish and promoted anger.
We’re not wrong or negative to feel these emotions, sometimes it’s good to feel a bit angry and it can be useful to be a bit anxious. Our emotions are a guiding force. However, cognitive distortions are DISTORTIONS that promote unhelpful styles of thinking.
During my recent addiction therapy treatment I’ve noticed a lot of people banding around the word “Alpha” as a label. Alpha is term that has gain a lot of popularity on the internet and has appeared in various memes, a lot of fitness regimes can describe themselves as being an alpha. Dr. Jordan Peterson has brought about a lot of this discussion on the internet, whilst I don’t think he’s entirely wrong, I think it’s label being grossly misused.
Alpha is a term used to describe leaders in pack animals, you commonly see this in chimps and wolves.
Some people are completely missing the point entirely when using the word, they really mean petulant, selfish, or Machiavellian behaviour that just isn’t going to serve their recovery well at all.
Conversely to this there are some people who use the term “Incel” to describe someone who is devoid of sexual relationships, it means “involuntary celibate”. The description on some places on the net (of which I won’t be linking to), describe the label as being if you haven’t had sex for 6 months but find yourself incapable of finding a partner then you qualify as an incel.
Recently a few people who identify as and incel have gone on shooting rampages, including one recent incident in England (UK) which involved one man (who won’t be named) shooting his own mother and four other people. He adopted this label and saw his life as a never ending pattern of defeat that he would be “forever alone”.
We don’t all develop the same and romantic conquests aren’t a given, in order to sustain a romantic link to someone there certainly has to be shared emotions and feelings. Focusing on self hatred and what you lack is painfully repellent, people sense this from almost a mile off.
If this young man would have had the experience of not owning this label and trying to find a way of healing his difficulties there may have been a possibility of a wholesome relationship somewhere down the line. However, instead he chose to meditate on his distortions, get more and more wound up and then finally break.
Although there is a lot of pressure on the internet and within media, advertisers manipulate people into emoting into products. Large institutions that govern mediums like television put a lot of effort into exercising their resentments against certain communities. So ask yourself, when you’re reading or watching any medium? Ask yourself is this helping? If the answer is no, then you only have yourself to blame for exposing yourself to it.
I’d invite anyone with difficult thoughts and feelings to consider their priorities being their own well-being, if social media and TV are so bad for you, how are you going to be immune to it?
Despite being a counsellor, it isn’t my job to convert the masses, I’m just an instrument that can help those that are willing.
If you’re having problem with an unhealthy label, maybe disengage with that label and those communities that put in on you. Consider stopping using judgmental words to describe yourself and start questioning where does this come from?
As a young man, I was completely unaware how my peers made me feel anxious and upset, I just assumed it was because they were my betters. But it was just their anxieties, their fears about their position in the world.