Queen, Empress, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Beautiful…all names that mean so many different things to different people, but why is a name so important? A long time ago I started calling people names according to what I saw when I looked at them or what I perceived after I got to know them. I would often greet another sister as, “Hey beautiful” or “Whats going on lovely lady.” I noticed that by just calling people by a name full of positivity you could change their entire mood.

The saying that “Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so far from the truth. I am a firm believer that you should only respond to names that describe who you are as a person in the most uplifting way. Bitch, ugly, failure, disappointment, weak…these are names that should never describe you and ones you should never answer to. When I read my word it proclaims that my name is VICTORY and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe this and therefore act in a way to exemplify what my creator has called me.

Listening to what others may say about you can always be a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter what other people call you, but it’s about what you call yourself. What name best describes you and the woman/man you are trying to be everyday. Throughout life many names will be thrown at you, but what matters is the name you respond to. Once you respond, you give that name life and accept it as part of your existence.

When I was younger I was called all kinds of names by kids in my school. Fat, ugly, nappy head, immigrant…all names with negative connotations that sent me home in tears because I took them in as truth. I felt that since so many people were saying these things then they must be true. Those names were ingrained in my heart until I realized that they continued to call me those names because I would answer to them. I acknowledged the childish ridicule, but once I realized I was so much more than those names; I gave myself new names. Names such as royalty, intelligent, sweet, kind and anything else that I knew was the proper reflection of who I was. Once I saw these things in myself, others recognized them too because I refused to let any one give me a name that didn’t correctly characterize Risa.

People will always try to bring you down not only with their actions, but with their words. Understand that you are who YOU say you are and that when no one else encourages you, you have to encourage yourself. Your name is part of your identity. If it doesn’t identify with the person you know you are, then it is not your name.

“Whats in a name? that which we call a rose by another other name would smell as sweet…” (Taken from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) I believe what the great writer was trying to say here is that no matter what name you give it, a rose is still a rose. No matter what name someone else tries to give you, you are still YOU. No one can take your identity away from you unless you let them. So…what’s your name?

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