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Positivity Quest: The Power of Naming

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.

Read more: Children, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Sex, Spirit, Wendy's Positivity Quest

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice.It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." The book is available on ebook. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


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11:24PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

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!

11:45AM PDT on Oct 16, 2012


10:19AM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

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.

4:53PM PDT on May 10, 2012


3:39AM PDT on Jul 22, 2010

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.

1:00AM PDT on Jul 6, 2010


7:44PM PDT on May 12, 2010

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)

11:34AM PDT on May 7, 2010

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.

2:51PM PDT on May 6, 2010

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

2:50PM PDT on May 6, 2010

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!

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