Have you ever wished to be called another name? Do names affect your personality or life?


My name is Sahba. My family decided to call me this name because they are believed in ‘Hafez’ who is the greatest Iranian poet. ‘Divane-Hafez’ is a book that contains his poems and my name has got from it. Sahba originally means spiritual red wine which is awarded to exceptional human-beings. The number of people I have heard with the same name as I have in Iran was less than ten. Consequently, my name was unique for almost every one in Iran who met me for the first time and I always have been admired for my unique and meaningful name. Because of this occurrence in my life, I always have noticed people’s name and also have had a variety of open questions in mind like: why one Justin (Justin Cubilo) is an ELI teacher as well as a PhD student, while another Justin (Justin Timberlake) is a  famous singer? Would you be the same person with another name? would you be the US president if your name was Barack? Are really names irrelevant to our personalities, or they do have affect on our lives?

There is controversy amongst different people about whether our names can affect our personality or life. The proponents of the idea that names do not affect our personalities maintain that always our names are chosen by our parents. Consequently, our names reflect their taste not ours and as a result our names cannot affect our personalities. Further, they believe that our names are irrelevant to our personalities because we often see people with the identical names and different personalities. They believe that our personalities are based on many different inborn and external factors and our names are not among these factors.

Conversely, the proponents of the idea that name have definite influence on our personalities and lives express that the most important aspect of the personality influenced by names is the matter of self-concept. Self-concept starts developing as the newborn baby born and this self-concept is learned and build based on the verbal or non-verbal messages received from the most significant people of their lives. Parents are the most important message-senders, but, as children mature and become more and more independent, the messages other people like their friends, their teachers and so on all contribute to their developing concepts of self. In a sense, self-concept works as a kind of script for the way people act based on. If a boy has an image of himself as bad or as not capable of doing well in kindergarten or school, his behavior will probably reflect this image. He will tend to behave the way he thinks a “bad boy” is supposed to behave, or he will fail to learn as he should even though he might be pretty clever.

A human’s name has an impact on the process of building a self-concept as the name helps determine the messages other people send the child frequently. In each culture, it has been well proved through research that certain names are generally considered desirable and have positive feelings associated with them. It is also well established that other names are looked upon as being undesirable and carry negative associations and feeling. For example, in Iranian culture, Ali, ValaReza, Kourosh(Cyrus),  Niki, Khorshid are all considered desirable and positive, and Gholam, Sakine, Javad all provoke the opposite reaction. Because of this, people unconsciously, but nevertheless effectively, send positive and negative messages in keeping with positive and negative images.

Having all these ideas in mind, would you be another person if you called differently? Have your ever wished to be called another name? Which name and Why?

Share your wished names, attitudes, and experiences


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