And I thought, that's quite something to live up to, that permanent state of brightness. It's a bit like being called the world's happiest man – who of course exists (in the media at least!). His name is Matthieu Ricard.
Trouble is, by calling him the world's happiest man, his happiness makes him one-dimensional. I picture him as a grinning statue, fixed in a single, static state of being...
But the world's happiest man isn't just happy. He's a Buddhist monk and an aide to the Dalai Lama. He's earned a doctorate in biology and he's thoughtful, kind and versatile too. He's a photographer and an author who wrote a book with his father, a renowned French philosopher - and he worried about it beforehand. Plus he loves football, which proves nobody's perfect.
And doesn't that description make you warm to him so much more? You could say I've just given him a series of labels instead of just one, but that's the point. Words are labels, but I've taken the time to tell you more, to give you more because he deserves to be known for more than his happiness. In reality, he's so much more.
And my vibrant tulips? Well of course they faded and drooped – one label was never going to be enough. After all, it also completely missed the bit about tight shiny buds being perfectly full of promise.
Another problem with labels is that they're sticky – once given, they can be difficult to remove. This may not be such a bad thing if they're positive, but if they're not, they become more albatross than asset.
The bottom line is that labels are often limiting – they put us in boxes and can give us a restricted view of our own potential and ability to change. They become beliefs that determine the way we think and act and have all sorts of expectations and assumptions tagging along behind.
But labelling is also part of life. We do it to keep things simple, to get the gist of things quickly and easily, to make sense of our world or make a judgement and move on. And consequently, we stick them everywhere, sometimes without even thinking about it or realising we're doing it.
So the secret is to become alive to labels and to start paying attention to the ones we use on ourselves and others. And then we need to remind ourselves that we can peel them off any time we choose. OK, so it may take a wire brush and some serious scrubbing, but we can do it – and add new ones to take their place.
So here's one final thought to play with...
Imagine a suitcase – one of those wonderful old-fashioned brown leather suitcases. It's your suitcase, full of the stories of your life so far. It may have a few scuff marks, it may be a bit battered in places, but it's covered in sticky labels that tell the world about the places you've been, the people you've met, the person you might be.
Some of those labels were attached by you, some were slapped on by other people as you went through customs... The exciting, positive, motivating ones enable you to fly; others keep you rooted in the past or in the unfriendly territories of fear, frustration, anger or sadness.
The question is: which of those labels are you happy to live with?
What do you want people to know about you – where you've been, where you are and where you're going?
What are you willing to declare about yourself to others, for others, in spite of others?
And at the end of a life that will surely have taken you on a quite incredible journey, what are the labels that you'd like to have on your suitcase to show you've been?