Honestly, I've never felt any particular fondness for my first name: Valerie. I don't necessarily dislike it, but I'm not crazy about it either. My family has never abbreviated it to Val or called me by a nickname. The closest I've come to that is the Southern Pronunciation: Val'rie.
I prefer my middle name a bit more: Reneé. Who doesn't love an accent (even if I've never seen it over that particular e in anyone else's name). But it never felt like "my" name and, aside from about a month in late elementary school, I never made an effort to go by it.
I was named for my mother's High School art teacher and a friend's sister. My sister was named for our Grandmother's and I always thought that there was more substance to her name.
According to the Baby Name Wizard, Valerie is "borrowed from the French, Valerie is from the Latin Valerius, an old Roman family name derived from valere (to be strong, healthy)." Reneé is the "feminine form of the French Rene, from the Late Latin Renātus, which is a direct derivative of renātus (reborn, born again)."
Some other facts: