How does it make you feel when someone says your name out loud? Surprised? Special?
I still don’t like being singled out- it feels like too much like school. But recently when someone called me by my name I was pleasantly surprised they knew who I was. Often in a hospital/doctors scenario I get called by my first name, which is fine but not right.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that using someone’s name is the one of the kindest things you can do for them. By saying out loud that you know who they are, you are affirming them.
The worst thing is saying the wrong name. I’ve been called Grace a lot which, again, is fine but not right. The worst was when someone called me Bruce! Since then on the phone I follow Ruth with R-U-T-H. Even then, they often don’t get it. The hairdresser mis-called my son Samuel, Daniel. He didn’t correct him so will be Daniel forever more! For at least a year I was convinced a woman was called Louise. At the end of that mistaken time I discovered she was Clare!
By remembering and saying someone’s name you are telling them ‘I see you, I value you, I respect the person you are.’
I read recently someone urging their daughter to ‘be a something’. In this time of lifelong learning and multiple career changes I think that sentiment has been debunked. I hope it has. I left university with a first class degree but little idea of what I wanted to be. When I was laden with the label ‘MS sufferer’ I started to feel like that was all I was ever going to be.
WRONG! I am discovering there is always more to be than we first think. We can always defy expectations and be more than people think we are.
So go on, step out from the labels people unwittingly place on you. Be more than a something. Be more than just a name.