When I was growing up, nobody was diagnosed with ADHD. When I was diagnosed in my mid–20s, as a law firm associate, nobody talked about it publicly.
These days, it’s no big deal to acknowledge this. The label is everywhere.
But I often wonder if that’s a good thing, especially for kids.
What limitations do we implicitly confer on kids or adults when we label them with “diseases” and “disorders”?
More generally, how do the labels we put on children influence them as they grow up?
How are you still living an identity conferred on you in your youth by parents, teachers, and peers?
Mercury in Virgo Trine Pluto in Capricorn
Today, Mercury in Virgo forms a supportive trine to Pluto in Capricorn (3:20 pm ET at 27°54’) that invites us to consider the power of the words and labels we use to define ourselves, and how they impact our sense of self, our actions, and our life trajectory.
Mercury is the planet of communication, research, and messages. It is currently wrapping up a long transit through its home sign of Virgo.
Mercury, especially in Virgo, likes to organize and label things. Names and titles are Mercury’s way of telling the world how to categorize and define us.
Pluto is the planet of transformation and power. It deals with what’s under the surface, with death and rebirth.
Mercury’s trine to Pluto calls attention to the power of names, words, and labels to influence how we perceive and define ourselves and how, in turn, we are perceived and defined by others.
Labels and Identity: A Self-Perpetuating Cycle
It’s a self-perpetuating cycle:
When we were children we acquired nicknames or labels, often from adults or peers.
The class clown. The smart one. The slow one. The hard worker. The lazy one. The daydreamer. The forgetful one.
We often unconsciously adopt these identities, not realizing how they influence our behavior and our trajectory.
What decisions did you make in life because you were labeled “the smart one” and not “the athletic one”?
How would your self-perception change if you were known as “the hard worker” vs “the lazy one?”
As we carry these identities into our adult lives, these labels become how we speak about ourselves.
They way we speak about and define ourselves becomes how others see us and define us.
People take our cues about who we are.
We tell them with our words. We show them with our actions.
They, in turn, reflect this back to us. Reinforcing the identity.
As Mercury trines Pluto, we have an opportunity to shed the labels and definitions we’ve been using to define ourselves.
The best way to find our power is to control the narrative of who we are, and that begins with the labels we use to define ourselves.
We can choose new words and redefine ourselves.
This week, take notice if you find yourself using self-deprecating jokes or putting yourself down. Note how often you apologize reflexively, when no apology is required, apologizing for simply existing. When Mercury connects with Pluto, it’s time to take control over our labels, names, and stories. They matter. So do we.
As my mentor Sofia Thom says:
Words cast spells. That’s why it’s called spelling.
You don’t have to constrain yourself to an identity created by the way someone else defined you when you were young.
You have the power to choose the words that best define who you are and how you want to be perceived.
Once you choose those words, you’ll take actions to be consistent with that identity.
Cast your own spell.