Naming Yourself


Interestingly enough, words have tremendous power.  By the very fact that they are a vehicle for conveying feelings, words can be forceful and effective.  Consider how historically people have been denied the use of words?

Reflect on the importance of being able to name yourself--not your given or family name, although most people, but not all people, do have some control over what people call us.  Rather use the words that were selected to describe who we are as part of society, a group, or words that are used to reflect our beliefs.

Create a list of words that best describes you.  Write your name and create a word association with your own name.  Consider the words you have written.  Put your name in the middle of the above diagram and them fill in the other segments of the illustration with words that you feel most comfortable using in naming yourself.

Answer the questions about your list that are posed here:

  1. Are there words that might be misinterpreted on your list?  Which ones?
  2. Did you list words that might be perceived by some people as being controverisal?  Which ones?
  3. What words associate you with other people and groups?  Which words tell something about your personality?  What words reflect your values?  Your political leanings?  Did you list words that identify you ethnically or racially?  Religiously?  By sexual orientation?  Linguistically?  By your abilities?
  4. Are you satisfied with the words you have chosen to describe yourself?  Would you like to add other words to your list?  How do these words change your profile?
  5. Did you have concern that someone might read your list?  If so, how did that affect what you did or didn't add to your list?