You Are You
I was reading about a study that shows how baby names can affect future behavior. (Yes, there really is a study about this.) The research revealed that a person's name can influence where he/she chooses to live, occupation, and even choice of political candidates.
Naturally, after reading this, I immediately wanted to figure out how my name has affected me and since the study didn't have specifics, I did the next best thing - I googled it. I did a search for how people named Sarah where supposed to act, but that didn't really help.
The whole thing got me thinking, though, about the names we have grown up with that have defined our persons. Think of those names that you were called when you were younger and perhaps are still being called now. The majority of them are probably parts of your identity that were called out by others - things that people noticed in you and they began to know you as those things, such as smart, athletic, musical, chunky, goofy, lazy, etc.
How have those labels influenced the person you are today? Have they affected the way you look at yourself? Determined the choices you’ve made?
I’ve been called everything under the sun – stubborn and impatient, creative and generous. These have been reinforced throughout the years by others and as time has passed, I have accepted them to be true and have allowed them to define me as a person. Fortunately, these names and labels that I’ve grown up with haven’t been untrue or harmful. I have a close friend who wasn’t so lucky. He grew up in an abusive home, and despite all his best efforts, he was always referred to as stupid and good for nothing. For a while, he allowed those words, those labels, to define him. It wasn’t until after high school, when he joined the military, that he began to peel off the negative labels and live into more positive ones.
Take a minute to weed through the names you’ve been given. Recognize that some negative ones might be true and that those are areas that you need to work on. Also recognize that not all the negative ones may be true.
Judgment and name-calling will always be a part of life. There will always be people around the corner telling you that you aren’t smart enough or patient enough or successful enough. But don’t let others opinions of you dictate your future. If your name is going to be a determining factor on how your future shapes out to be, then pick your own labels. Make a conscientious choice to live into the person you want to be.
And remember, you are more than just a label. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “You are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”