The Right Brain and the Unconscious: Discovering the Stranger Within

By R. Joseph | Go to book overview

12
Repetition and Rejection

Dreaming, Self-Fulfilling Prophecies,
and the Seeking of Failure

Learning to Be Who We Are: The Power of Names

When a child first learns his or her name he or she also acquires the ability to think and to conceptualize himself or herself in symbolic terms, as an abstract entity. By use of this linguistic symbol both the child and others are able to refer to and to think about him or her. Indeed, as the name is repeatedly applied, the child begins to conceptualize that he or she and this name are one and the same, much as the word mommy and the child's mother are one and the same, at least in the abstract.

When the child hears and begins to use his or her own name, the image of the self becomes more firmly established, and specific characteristics, also in the abstract, begin to be realized and applied to the developing self-concept. The child thus develops not only a visual, tactile, and emotional image of the self, but a verbal one as well.

Most of us were probably told at one time or another that "Sticks and stones will break our bones but names will never hurt us." Most of us also knew that this just wasn't true. Children learn that certain. names applied to them by their parents or siblings, or by neighborhood

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