Recently, I had the opportunity to hear some folks encourage a particular person, and I noticed that something kept happening quite naturally. Instead of simply saying,
“We’re with you. . . We believe in you. . . We know you can do this. . .”
they also kept adding the person’s name:
“We’re with you, [Name]. . . We believe in you, [Name]. . . We know you can do this, [Name].”
Throughout all of this, I was reminded of how powerful names can be. In the context of expressing love, gratitude, or encouragement, names themselves can be words of deep affection.
After I had already been pondering this, in a different context, a friend said that she wanted to hear her name more. She felt like people hadn’t said her name as often lately, a name she shares with a relative she lost years ago.
Perhaps somewhere within us, we’re all longing to be addressed by name. This sacred process of speaking and hearing names comes from a place of being known and honored as the ones we are. We are seen and cared for in all our particularities.
When addressing others with love, gratitude, and encouragement, I’m going to start speaking names much more often and much more intentionally.