The long awaited divorce of Courtney and David Arquette has finally been booked. Both parties amicably filed the necessary papers this week, each set of documents mirroring the other in all but one regard:
Courteney Cox Arquette is asking for her name back.
While she’d prefer to legally be Courteney Cox again, not many outside her family circle ever stopped calling her Courteney Cox- mostly because she became famous as Courteney Cox, and her Hollywood luster always sparkled a bit brighter than her actor, director, producer, screenwriter, fashion designer, and professional wrestler husband’s did.
Still, she wants her name back and it isn’t difficult to be sympathetic with anyone who wants to distance themself from a name that carries baggage with it.
The hurt and frustrating experiences connected to her former name are something she’d prefer to remain where, and to whom, they belong.
My point isn’t to “pile on” or to “pick sides” in a divorce, simply to point out that attaching your name to something or someone is a risky business…
One that requires a significant amount of sober deliberation.
Maintaining a good name is difficult enough, but once your name gets attached to something less than praiseworthy it’s a long and difficult battle back to respectability. Once lost, A good name is hard to reclaim.
Consider that corporate names and titles are so important that businesses change and update them in order to regain standing and reputation:
Sagepoint Financial is what became of AIG.
Quixtar is really Amway.
Altria is actually Philip Morris.
Nexium is Prilosec.
The Mars Bar? It changed it’s name to *Snickers Almond.
The Shack, well, we all still know that it’s Radio Shack.
We go to great lengths to defend our good name, but isn’t it true that our good name is what defends us?
Consider how you react when you get news regarding someone you know. Your response is typically connected to what you believe about that person. You either think, “That can’t be true!”, or “That sounds about right.”
You aren’t simply weighing the information, you are weighing it against what you believe about the person you know.
You see, we don’t actually defend our good name. We build it through hard work and good character. After building that reputation, it either defends us against lies and scandal or it confirms them.
Rebuilding your good name doesn’t happen by defending your reputation. It begins by being honest and is completed by the hard work of trustworthy behavior.
This long awaited divorce was accompanied by a sustained period of detraction and dishonor, here-say and rumor, and preceded by a significant separation.
During that time reputations were both put to the test and proven. Now each person gets to live with the results of that process.
Names and reputations were earned and lost.
Names and reputations that must be lived with.
Names and reputations that can still be rebuilt and reclaimed.
It’s a striking reminder to continue building on the good name you’ve already got…
Or to get busy preparing the one that will have your back when you’re down.
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” -Proverbs 22:1
*The European version of the Mars bar is still sold in some United States specialty grocers.