Monday, April 16, 2012

Hi! My name is

Almost a year ago, George and I adopted a nine pound, four year old female ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from a rescue organization called Cavalier Rescue USA. Her given name was Ginger, but giving her a fresh start, we renamed her Giselle which she learned quite quickly.

Names are really important to us, aren't they? We put time, effort and care into what we name our children, our pets and for some even their cars or boats. In my immediate family, our dogs even have middle names!

Zoe, Mr. Knightley and Giselle
Though we have not called her 'Ginger' in a really long time, Giselle responds to both names. And there is another name she responds to as if it were another given name. She responds to it even when it is said with a flat intonation: 'Good Girl.' Our other dogs respond to multiple names too. Four year old sensitive tomboy, Zoe responds to 'Princess' and our nine year old stubborn cuddler, Knightley responds to 'Puppy.'

As I just recently noticed how Giselle responds to 'Good Girl' as if it were a name rather than a praise we give her, I thought about how as individuals, we respond to the names that we have been given by others or ourselves whether positive, negative or neutral. They may sometimes be adjectives, but we can adopt them as being names that reflect who we are even when they really don't: Intelligent; Victim; Survivor; Worthless; Beautiful; Failure; Kind; Nothing; Everything; Stupid; Got-it-Together; Damaged;

I had an experience recently where someone very cruelly told me something horrid about myself that I knew was not true, but I could not shake it. Even though loved ones reassured me it was not true, it really messed with me. It was as though this person had take a super-adhesive sticker with this name written on it and slapped in on my inner being. It affected the way I saw myself, how I thought about myself, and I started thinking as though this name/label must be true. I even started to feel shame because I was carrying this name/label around. It really rocked my boat and this negative name/label led to other negative names I believed about myself.

We all grow up with names we took on or were branded with and they probably shaped who we are even though they may or may not be who we are. Some people shake names/labels easier than others. Admittedly, I have to work to shake any name/label I have been given by others or myself. My husband, George, lets names/labels easily slide off his back. Over the years he has taught me how not to care what people think about me. And what a freeing thing it is. I am jealous it comes so naturally to him because it is something I have to work on daily. I have redefine myself for who I really am in my core, not the labels I got pinned stuck with.

Isn't it rotten when we grow up hearing something about ourselves that is not true, but we begin to believe it is? Maybe parents or grandparents or siblings treated us in a way that made us believe a name/label about ourselves. Maybe abuse made one's mind adopt a name.  Maybe someone in school told us we were nothing. Maybe a colleague/boss crushed our work. Maybe a friend betrayed us. Maybe fill in the blank has expectations we cannot meet. Maybe as a chronically ill person, people who are supposed to love and support us have given us labels that are not who we are.

If names were piled on stickers, I'd love to use that Goo Gone product on the pile. In fighting back against this most recent name that I let define me for a while, I sought to find what my name really is in the center of my being. And I found that name to be 'Beloved.'

No matter what has been stuck onto us, who we are, what we have done, mistakes we have made, what someone called us, what someone did to us, we have a core name that means "a much loved person." Our task is to work on peeling off all those other names that bind us so that we can experience freedom.


  1. Hi Kelly,

    Just dropping in to say Hello and that I hope you are doing as well as can be. I love the picture of your dogs. They are all so adorable. I love my dogs....indeed they bring me comfort and are always there to lie down on the sofa/bed with me.

    I am glad to read you have returned to your blogging. I have always enjoyed reading your blog entries and how much you share with others about your personal experience with pain.

    Sending you warm sunshine on your face and great big hugs!

  2. What a great reminder of the power of words. I shared this on my Facebook pages and I wanted to share what one woman wrote when she shared it on her page:

    "It's hard for me to admit but, like Kelly, the author of the linked article, I have to work at releasing the names/labels others impose on me. In reading Kelly's very power-full and empowering words, I realized that the reason I have such a hard time shaking off such things stems all the way back to childhood. (It seems there is always something new for me to use EFT on; oops, was that a self-limiting belief? And so another thing to EFT. =p) This was a good realization, even though it hurt a bit to recall some of my past. It is good in that I recognize it and therefore can now do something about it. I can use the tools I have acquired through the years to wash myself clean, so to speak; to better reveal the essence of who I truly am.

    Kelly really nailed the point when she said, "No matter what has been stuck onto us, who we are, what we have done, mistakes we have made, what someone called us, what someone did to us, we have a core name that means "a much loved person." Our task is to work on peeling off all those other names that bind us so that we can experience freedom."

    Kelly, if you ever see this, please know I thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to give the rest of us such wise words. That takes courage. God bless you! ♥

    Thank you to New Yew - Multidimensional Healing for sharing this link."