Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I Want To Change My Name! Where Do I Start?

Changing your name can be tough. It requires that you really know yourself and what you want. 
You would need to browse through name lists and pick out the ones that jump at you. Maybe you’ll find something that instantly speaks to you, but most likely it’ll take a while and names will need to grow on you. You’ll need to try them on and wear them to see if they’re a fit.

You could go about it in many different ways but it would depend on if you want to keep a connection to your old name or abandon it completely. Here are a few of the many possible methods for choosing a different name for yourself:

1. Stick to similar sounds: Maybe you dislike your name Carolyn but you find yourself liking the similar sounding Coraline instead.

2. Find a related name: You don't want to stray too far but Heidi just isn't you. Try sister name Adelaide from the same root name Adalheidis.

3.  Do the complete opposite:  If you have a common name, go for something unusual like Rafferty or Xenia. If you already have an odd name that gives you trouble, you might opt for a more classic choice like James or Elizabeth.

4. Simplify it: If your name is needlessly complicated, you could find a simpler spelling. For instance, change Abbygayle to Abigail or Xzayvier to Xavier.

5. Scramble the old, create the new: You could rearrange the letters in your old name to come up with something else:  Alice -> Celia. Include your middle name and even your maiden name or surname if you're changing the entire thing.

6. Meanings are everything: You could find a name with the same meaning as your old one to subtly link your new self to a piece of your old self.

7. Borrow from the past:  You could pick something from your family tree like your great grandmother’s maiden name or an uncle's middle name. Explore your ancestral options, maybe you'll find something you like more than your own. Honoring a late relative would be a great bonus!

8. Random name generator:  You could look up name popularity statistics for your birth year and see where your name ranked, then choose whatever name ranked the same for 2014. Or 1920. Or 1957. Whatever year means something to you.

9. Swap it out: You could look at your birth year and find a different name that ranks within the Top 1000 so you would still fit in with your age group. (Some names that are popular and appealing now were not used at all until recently so you’d seem out-of-time if you used it.)

10. Find something shiny and new: The most likely option will be that you simply find something that feels right with no strings attached to your old name. Only you can know if the name will suit you. Trust your instincts and don't be afraid to be bold with your choice if need be. Being happy with your name is very important for your self identity.

No matter what approach you take to finding a new name for yourself, it takes research, self-meditation and trial and error. Introduce yourself with a name you like and see how it feels. Practice writing it and see if it seems natural or odd. It’s a complicated process but it is completely possible with enough thought and determination!

If you've ever changed your name or if you're considering it, share your story with us in the comment section below! 
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