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I read a great article recently around identity, millennials and having the freedom to challenge and change, because we simply can! I have been thinking about the connotations of my surname for a while, and it has created a fire in my belly to take action! Betty, named after my paternal Grandmother, my surname Woods.  There are concepts you develop about yourself including aspects of your life that you do and do not have control over.  I am super interested in recognising how choice and change within the umbrella of ‘ identity’ can support you in the healthy journey towards unlocking your authentic self , self-actualisation and finding continued joy.

“I am changing my surname, Hooray!”

These topics have been ping ponging around my mind, and through my journaling I have come to quite a significant breakthrough moment.  It is something that raises up my vulnerability, around who I am and how I function, yet I feel it is a powerful topic to discuss and I’d like to share it with you. I am changing my surname.  Hooray!

So, what is in a name? How does it play into your identity, and, what happens if you feel the psychological ‘fit’ of your name just doesn’t feels right for you? Well, this is what I am exploring at the moment.  Growing up, I was aware that I was called Betty, after my Grandmother.  She was truly loved, and although she died when I was little, I remember her. Her kind eyes, her laughter, her warmth, how much love she gave.  As I write that, I can feel the warmth and love rise up, and I feel centred and blessed to have been fortunate enough to have been named after her – lucky Betty!

“I have this vision that I want to taste, of cutting the metaphorical ribbon, seeing it flutter to the floor, oh the joy”

My surname however is what I’d like to change.  I see this journey as Betty holding a lovely pair of quality scissors that I have bought particularly for this task. I have this feeling of literally cutting the ribbon, seeing the ribbon separate and flutter to the floor, how beautiful!

As I write this, I am experiencing exhilarating joy, literally a fizzy abundance of admiration for the ability within us to recognise what we need.  I love, that I am always listening to myself, who I am, and who I am yet to become.  Experiencing the conscious awareness of my thought patterns, feelings and surroundings, I accept it with openness and curiosity in a truly non-judgmental way – as Betty, and as Coach. What we feel, think and say matters.

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Its not uncommon that at some point many of us choose to redefine ourselves – and I believe, so long as you are not running away from something rather than standing still and resolving it, it’s a super healthy thing.  I am an advocate for allowing yourself to make decisions based on your best interests.  I talked initially about changing my surname with my partner. The conversation explored why, past tense and the implications of the future also –  Marriage. We talked about how I didn’t want to offer my surname as a double barrelled name, and ours just didn’t flow, both from the psychological sense and the flow, it just didn’t “feel” right.  It was decided it was a smashing idea, and the change was greeted in such a receptive, positive way.

I also understand that decisions you make, can affect, and in fact hurt those around you.  Does this mean you should not explore changes you yearn to make? I rather feel, that the best way to tackle this, is to include those around you that matter to you, and be mindful of the implications of the changes you make – whether it be a simple name change, or anything else for that matter. For me, I needed to connect with my loved ones, and talk it through, be transparent in the reasons behind this need for the change.  When change occurs, as humans we can do many things in terms of reactions, and I have been blessed with people around me who are like breaths of fresh air.  Speaking to my beautiful partner, fabulous Brother and Sister and family, I was choked with emotion at their understanding behind my decision, and their reactions were wholeheartedly positive and supportive.  Lucky me.

And so, the task at hand. My name – what shall it be? It sounds crazy, but I love the freedom of this mechanic – that I can choose with great depth and though, or can choose in an instantaneous manner. I believe choice should plays into both of these options, but today Matthew, I choose my decision based solely the moment it all slotted together – through the article in The Sunday Times (27.08.17), “That’s not my name”. It spoke about the latest trend within the conscious crowd and the renaming ceremonies that ‘speak to your true self’.  It was literally like a fireworks moment! 💥 Seriously!

This process for me is about continuing to grow and evolve, embracing and stepping towards kind decisions that are based on identifying who my truest, purest self is.  Oh I feel the lovage! ❤️ The article was surface level, but for me, it struck a deep cord.  I can create positive change in ALL areas of my life.  As a coach, I am almost evangelical about the freedoms to choose and the importance of listening to your inner most greatest self, your potential, your genius. Only YOU know what is best for you when’s the chips are down. We can look around us and be absorbed by Google, influence, opinions – but, we hold the final decision to make positive change. It’s a funny thing to say, but I feel like I am standing up tall and proud next to my convictions, my values and how I make meaning within my profession.

“I have a fire, a flame within me, and I recognise that I’m the wind that carries the change, that I embrace so freely”

Whilst I embrace this change, I am also aware of the struggle of change.  It is interesting that the Chinese word for CHANGE is comprised of two symbols – DANGER and OPPORTUNITY, and I notice the position you stand in, or the word you link to change, can affect how you perceive and adapt to change.  Where you stand makes ALL the difference!  You can choose to “Fight, or flow” – I choose flow.

Signing off, a very, very happy

Betty Samantha Hemingway.

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What’s in a name and how do we identify with it?

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