The Fiancé and myself have been independently struggling with identity for a few months now. For myself, I’ve been leaving a work title paradigm for a value based one after my continued reading of Covey’s book. For her, it’s a similar experience with her name connected with her title and our marriage.

In short, she’s a doctor. My last name is ‘Grim’. Imagine trying to build a family medicine practice as “Dr. Grim”. Just saying, it’s both funny and awesome. However, there are real complications and lessons to be learn about ‘What’s in a name’.

In the past, when I got off work my mind would still be filled with everything “work”. I’d think about the personalities, the issues, the motives, the meanings, the everything. I tried to figure out how to be better at what I “supposedly do for a living”. I thought about the relationships I was trying to build and what everyone thought of the work I was doing.

No more of that.

Sure, I care about the quality of my work and occasionally need to process through the day’s events, but that’s because I value doing quality work. In the last year, I’ve tried to stopped worrying about making sure others see everything I accomplish. I know what I do every day and I know I’m needed.

This progression in attitude has influenced The Fiancé to think about how her job has affected her. Well, at least her title. We’ve had a series of discussion around her potentially changing her name upon marriage. It’s normal, but not necessary. Long story short, she’s both changing her name and not changing her name.

During social events she will be Mrs. Grim or Jenn. At work, she will be Dr. L. Rarely, she will be “Dr. L to you” when someone is belittling her or questioning her intelligence. (I’d love to see that event happen someday).

We all have different names for different contexts. For some, my name is Chris Grim (both first and last, yes). For others, my name is CG or Lord CG (Fun nickname my friends call me). Many family members call me Opher or Oppie. My nieces and nephews call me BoBo (“Chris” is hard for little ones). A few people call me “Mr. Grim” and I appreciate the formality. My gamer tag is imukuni (something I never thought I’d reveal). There’s a long list of others.

Point is, you don’t have to reveal all of your identity to all people at all times.

That’s the beauty of ethos. A rhetorical situation only calls for what best fits or what is relevant to the persuasive elements. When you’re trying apply for a home loan you can discard the fact that your great aunt calls you her “little snookie wookie kins”. I’m pretty sure they are just looking for your legal name, but I could be wrong.

Just remember, you can be “Dr.”, “Mrs.”, “Mr.”, or just plain “Sir/Madam”. You can ask others to call you whatever you’d like. This doesn’t change who you are.

Take some time and consider how you use your names in different situations. I hope you learn something about yourself that you can add to your everyday rhetoric. If anything, I hope you learn something about yourself like we have. Thank you for reading.