Are you more than a label?


Today we celebrate the Jan Bradys of the world. It’s Middle Child Day!
I come from a family of three kids. Our family dynamic pretty much cemented my thoughts regarding birth order. Each of us play our part well. In every story, there is a stand out character. For my family story, it has to be my brother – the middle child. Every story that involves a crazy twist at the end usually involves him. He was (and is) the risk taker, the story teller, the rebel, and in some situations the notorious one.
I remember walking into a history class and being greeted with a scowl by the teacher due to our relation.  

If there was a dramatic event, he was usually suspect number one, which usually made me either informant or accessory…depending on the day.  

He has made my life more adventurous just by his existence. Have there been times his behaviors caused a ripple in the family dynamics? Absolutely. Is that because he is the middle child? Nope. I know that because the first born has also caused a ripple or two. I’m the baby, so obviously I haven’t caused any problems. 😜

What makes my middle child brother the man he is, isn’t his birth order. Although that may have played a part in how he evolved as a person. His character traits and personality came from his own experiences in life. Just like mine and just like yours. In my family, though each of us grew up in the same house, we are 3 completely different characters.  And none of us are merely a result of birth order.

So, what do they say about middle children?  
Here is a list of popular traits attributed to middle children:

🎈Flexible

🎈Easy-going

🎈Independent

🎈May be an excellent mediator or negotiator

🎈May feel that life is unfair

🎈May feel unloved or squeezed out by siblings

🎈Can be highly adaptable

🎈Often generous and sociable

🎈May try to differentiate themselves from the eldest sibling through behaviors and interests

🎈May perceive that the oldest or youngest child are the parents’ “favorites”

🎈May be rebellious

🎈Engage in attention seeking behaviors

🎈May be extremely competitive

Looking at that list, I can easily see my brother. But I can apply many of those same characteristics to my husband (a first born) as well. The same can be said about temperaments attributed to ethnicity, immortality attributed to being a natural ginger, and other gems we all repeat. We love a label. Some good, some bad, but all applicable for various scenarios.
My question is this: Have you assumed a label for yourself rather than create an identity?

How many times have you heard (or said)? 

“I can’t do that because I’m ________.” 

The _______ varies from Irish to left handed. Now, we can all appreciate absolutes.  

I absolutely can not levitate myself, because – gravity.

I absolutely can not keep down seafood, because -allergy.

There are restrictions for everyone. We have limitations due to absolutes. However, many of us have decided that a label that we, or society, have assigned ourself is an absolute.  
“I can’t dance because I have two left feet”

🤔 Um…No, I’m pretty sure you don’t.

Using a label to avoid life is common. We have all done it at some point. (Usually to avoid something we perceive as hard or difficult)

When that label (excuse) keeps you from living with purpose, however, it is time to make a change.

Middle child syndrome is a fun way to blame behaviors and habits on something deemed uncontrollable. The truth is, no matter where we line up in birth order, we are responsible for our actions and reactions. We decide our path with each step we take. We determine our successes and failures with every choice we make.  

So, today I ask you to celebrate the middle children in your life. Tell them how wonderful they are. Let them know they make the world a little more special, not because of their birth order, but because of their presence in your life.

Then, I ask that you reevaluate the labels you are operating under. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by a label or diagnosis. There is greatness within each of us. Don’t restrict yourself with a label.

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