Positivity Quest: The Power of Naming

If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things. –Confucius

I have been naming and renaming my book, which will be released this year, for months now. Each time, I get closer to the core of what I am trying to say on each and every page. The last title: Love That Works: A Good Clean Love Guide to Enduring Intimacy feels like the truth of not just my book, but my life�s work. I like the play on words in associating Love and Work, which, according to Freud, are the cornerstone of our humanness. The idea of enduring intimacy speaks the truth about both the desire for lasting connection and the profound effort of endurance that is the basis of any lasting relationship. I feel satisfied and settled just hearing the words repeat in my head.

True naming of anything does this. Our feelings are available to us when we name them. They are more workable, and instead of them having a hold on us, we get to hold them.In relationships, calling the dynamic by its proper name loosens its grip. The uncontrollable dark magic of relating becomes manageable. So much of our sexual anxiety comes from the lack of vocabulary, from our inability to language truly what we experience.

The meaning of words and the power in naming is true throughout life, but never so evident as it is in childhood. From the very first moments of naming and identifying our children, to the incredible pace of language acquisition that defines our first years among family, it is the power of naming that gives meaning to our life and our relationships. Consider the joy filled enthusiasm that literally pours out of children as they discover the power of calling something by its true name.

Our ability to language our experience, to accurately name the objects, feelings and interactions that make up our lives is how we order our perceptions and come to trust ourselves. What we cannot express, we cannot truly understand; our ability to name is the foundation for how we think and what we can think about.

What we call things reflects how we value them. Consider the multiple words for snow among the indigenous Alaskan population, or the many names for love that the French have. A culture�s language reflects its values deeply. How we denote the masculine and the feminine speaks volumes about their respective positions. Think of the names that popular black rap uses for women currently.

Choosing what we call things is one of our most basic forms of power and one that we often overlook. Saying what you mean may be one of the most positive acts you can engage in.

59 comments

Michael Wecke
Michael Wecke4 years ago

Nomen est omen (Lat): The name says it all. OR "A good name is the best of all treasures".
If you can name the demon, you can tame the demon.

Also look at the power of words used by poets to describe their love, e.g. Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, that starts with:
"Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May... One of my favourite English poems!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams4 years ago

Thanks

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

when flying, I always made it habitual to know my first class customers name . Iit made for a more personal and pleasant flight for them.

Joe R.
Joe R4 years ago

Thanks.

Sarah F.
Sarah F6 years ago

Without trying to sound picky, what do you mean by 'the many names for love that the French have'? I speak French fluently, and as far as I am aware, they actually have fewer words to express this than the English... We can differentiate between 'I like you' and 'I love you' - in French, both of these are 'Je t'aime'. It proves your point in reverse, but poor research or using stereotypes doesn't help the article.

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat6 years ago

thanks

Carolyn Dakin
Carolyn Dakin6 years ago

This was a great article. I had never thought of naming in this light. I guess if you were in a situation with a person who didn't speak your language then the first thing you would do is show and teach each other the names of everything. (and the value attached to each of them)

Alex R.
Alex R6 years ago

I've noticed people with unusual names seem often to be more creative, outgoing and successful. Guess it's either that or we just aren't prone to remembering all the "Jane Doe's" accomplish.

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

Ack, I posted it twice! Sorry about that, everybody! Computer's having the cybernetic hiccups again...bear with me!

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

My husband and I believe that the names we give our children, as well as the meanings of the names, can be the most important gift your can give a child because the meaning of the name can actually help influence their lives.

Our first daughter we named Nichola Virginia, in honor of my paternal grandfather Nicholas and my husband's maternal grandmother Virginia. Her name, in combination with our last name (which is also a boy's first name), means "Brave and powerful maiden who is victor of the people."

Our younger daughter is named Amber Sophia (my husband picked her first name simply because he liked it-we couldn't agree on any family names this time, and it turns out that the name Sophia is also a family name on my side in addition to being one I liked because of its meaning!). Her full name means "One who is wise, brave, and powerful through knowledge gained by ancient wisdom."

We also had formal naming ceremonies for them shortly after their births as part of our religious beliefs, since we believe that the name you give a child is one of the most important gifts you can ever give them, and it deserves to be done so with the proper ceremony! It took some explaining to the hospital staff each time why we couldn't reveal their names right at birth, but once they understood why, they loved the idea! The ceremonies were a combination of our Wiccan beliefs and Native American traditions, and they were beautiful!