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What is Labeling? | Assertiveness Basics

  • Labeling is a Cognitive Distortion, an automatic irrational thought.
  • It refers to judging ourselves and others based on one’s behavior, rather than based on the objective trait of that person.
  • The behavior becomes the person in this cognitive distortion.

Examples of Labeling

“I won again. You’re such a loser.”

The person lost a game. That single event does not define them.

“You always carry a book with you. What a nerd.”

The person reads or learns a lot. That is what they do, not who they are. Therefore, “nerd” is a label and a display of cognitive distortion.

How To Manage Labeling

Learn to discriminate between the attributes of a person and their behaviors/actions. Then, consider the attributes of a person, not their singular actions, when defining them.