It has recently been brought to my attention that the name I was given actually has an effect on Who I Am. So what does that mean? It means that Who I Am I terms of how I feel, what I do, how I act, how I react to people, how I interact- everything that makes me, everything that I thought I was the ‘boss’ of and ‘decision maker’ of, can actually be running itself based on the reactions I experience to things as seemingly simple and harmless as words, such as my name. These reactions bring up memories and thoughts, feelings and emotions which are not necessarily of my choosing, it is almost as if it is automatic, as if it were a program.
And if you think about it- it really is like a program. I experience something in my world, say- someone says my name in an angry tone, and all of a sudden- as if by magic, I am experiencing myself differently than I was seconds earlier. Maybe I'm feeling fearful, rigid, tense etc.. Why? Because of memories where someone said my name in an angry tone and then something happened that allowed me to justify the negative experience occurring within me, such as something like a negative consequence as being yelled at or being punished.
It was not my choosing to select and bring forth such memories, I mean, why would I want to experience that again, or experience it every time someone says my name in an angry tone.?The truth is, I wouldn't- yet I do, without even realizing it. Because I have it programmed into me that a certain tone associated to my name triggers a certain chemical to release into my blood and cause me to experience myself a certain way, which usually impacts everything I do while I’m experiencing it, so that the outflows of that chemical release as a feeling or emotion, actually ripples through me, changes Who I AM, and then has an influence or impact on those around me through my interaction with them, as well as everything I do. So, as simple and seemingly insignificant as these programs may seem, they actually have a lot of influence, if you consider they are occurring all the time and within everyone.
These programs are determined by the things we previously experienced, which become memories and feeling or emotional experiences, and the personalities we developed to cope with those experiences, which are like a cast of characters (such as, for me, ‘school Kim’, ‘work Kim’, ‘social life Kim’, ‘family Kim’, ‘girlfriend or wife Kim’, ‘friend Kim’, ‘girl next door Kim’, ‘sad or happy Kim’, ‘confident Kim’, ‘insecure Kim’ and so on… you get the point), and then the thoughts, feelings and emotions which are triggered and stem up from these characters and manifest inside of us as internal experiences which then effect the way, the who, and the how that we are (for example: ‘friend Kim’ likes to go out and be social, but ‘insecure Kim’ would rather stay home and eat junk food and watch tv, or ‘confidant Kim’ studies hard and stays on top of her work, but that is sabotaged by ‘sad Kim’ who mopes around and procrastinates and feels that life is pointless).
So, where in all this, is my agency? I mean, yes, throughout my life here and there I have applied myself with everything I have and followed through on something, but even within those endeavors, was I completely in control of Who I Am, within my life and world? Was I in control every time I spoke with my mom, dad, husband, sister, nieces and nephews, teachers, friends etc… or did I get angry, frustrated, insulted, annoyed, excited, motivated etc…thus triggering characters? How about when I wanted to eat healthy or exercise, watch less tv, call my grandmother, stop after this drink, stop after this bite, walk the dog more, read more, be patient with my coworkers, speak up in class, start assignments sooner, loosen up in social groups, learn to listen, express myself more clearly, stop biting my nails, take shorter showers, use natural cleaners? – Meaning, even during the times in my life where I made decisions and saw them through to completion, can I really say that, in every moment, it was ME who was living and making every decision? Or how often was it one of my cast of characters? In other words, how much of it was being run on these automatic programs that developed within the first seven or so years of my life? And so- how many of our daily actions can we really say we make the directive decision to do, when we do them, and how well we do them? And how much of what we do is just being pulled around on auto-pilot, by some seemingly all powerful force that we don’t even realize is directing us and pulling the strings in our lives.
I am going to look at this automation by looking at my name, ‘Kim’, and to look at the memories I’ve associated with it based on the tonality with which it is spoken to me, and how that tonality actually affects the entirety of the way and the Who that I am. Is it ME, or is it the pre-designed memory-based character that is activated based on the memories triggered by the tonality of voice used when and as my name is spoken? And again-this functions the exact same way for everyone. And if you follow this blog series on ‘Names’ , you will see there is a very interesting surprise, which you will be able to look at and apply in your own life, that may answer a lot of questions about who we are and why we are the way we are in this context.
In my next blog, I will look at three examples of name tonalities, the reactions experienced toward them, and the memories associated with them.