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The Power of Others to Shape Our Identity, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 548

Essay

Our personal identity changes as a result of communication with both self and others. We all go through different experiences in life and as a result, we continue to evolve in terms of perspectives and personality over time. “Particular others” are often the first to shape how we view ourselves because they are usually our first relationships in lives. We value their opinions and judgment of ourselves and shape our actions and self-concept accordingly.If our parents may describe us as intelligent, we may also start perceiving ourselves as intelligent and as a result, will have higher confidence in our capabilities. Similarly, we are also influenced by “generalized others” which are usually social communities and societies to which we belong. Communities and societies shape our social behavior and ideologies in both formal and informal ways through rules and regulations, messages in the media, social etiquettes, and traditions etc. “Particular others” may influence our self-identity through direct communication such as expressing their views on us or preaching us life rules we should abide to. They may teach us golden rules such as living within means and never valuing diversity. “Particular others” may also shape our self-identity through their behavior towards us that may be either caring and loving or rejecting and negative.In addition, our self identity is also influenced by our self-expression as well as responses we receive from “particular others” and “generalized others”.

There are numerous elements within the society that may or may not shape how we perceive ourselves. These elements include but not limited to race, sexual orientation, gender, and socioeconomic level. States where gay marriages are allowed, homosexuals may perceive themselves in more positive light as states where there is widespread stigma associated with being a homosexual. Similarly, women may be more confident in their career prospects in countries with greater emphasis on gender equality as compared to countries where fewer rights for women are culturally acceptable.

An article on Psychology Today’s websiteaddresses the fact that technology has emerged as an important element within “generalized others” that shape our self-identity. The article states that we develop self-identity in two major ways which are observing and evaluating ourselves and receiving feedback from the outside world. Since we are part of social communities, feedback from social communities does play a play in the evolution of our self-identities (Taylor).

Our social world has expanded due to internet and the resulting technologies, especially social networks. One of the major impacts of internet technologies has been that it has significantly increased the number of negative social forces which were quite few before the internet. The self-identities of younger generation that is continuously exposed to popular culture and media are being shaped by external forces in two major ways. First of all, popular culture forces such as media are trying to tell young people how they should be rather than who they really are. Second, young people have become overly concerned with how others may view them. This behavior leads to impression-management and self-promotion (Taylor).

Instead of expressing themselves the way they really are, young people are more focused on social acceptance. Their behavior has blurred the line between private persona and public persona and they are sacrificing their uniqueness in the process (Taylor).

Reference

Taylor, Jim. The Power of Prime. 27 July 2011. 25 October 2012 <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201107/technology-is-technology-stealing-our-self-identities>.

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