It Can Be Hard to Establish Your Identity When You Feel Different from Those Around You
It can be hard to establish your identity when you feel different from those around you A feeling of belonging is obviously a human’s fundamental needs. To establish your identity, you need to make people affirm and support you as a person you are becoming. However feeling different from a young child can have rippling effect on the rest of your lives where they can have an identity crisis because we are constantly reminded of our differences. Those who feel like outsiders can have feelings of loneliness, isolation and rejection that can make it difficult to establish their dentity. Consequently, through fear of prejudice, we are forced to conform to meet society’s views on us. Family expectations are prevalent in certain cultures and have the capacity to make one feel different from those around them. In Asian culture, hardworking children are seen as successful and success bring honor to the family.
Therefore academic success is what each Asian parents seek from their children. Sometimes parents’ demands to have their children to be a high achieving student an bring pressure on the children and can have negative consequences on ones sense of identity and belonging. While living in an easy going culture in Australia, many Asian students feel like they are different from their white peers because they are being pressurized by their parent while such demands are not burdened on the white peers. In “5 Ways to Disappoint your Vietnamese Mother”, it was clear that mother’s goal for her (becoming a doctor or lawyer) did not match her own ambitions. It is not until the end she got kicked out from her home that she can start finding her wn enjoyment and career in acting that her friends support that helps create her identity. Further Lily Chan tells the ‘dreading 4 o’clock every day when she started work after school in her family restaurant. ’
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Adopting such diligent work ethic and such strong parental demands sometime sees children stereotyped as different from their peers. Racism is a reoccurring theme in Australian society where those who are ‘different’ are treated as outsiders and left on the margins of society. This form of discrimination can have a powerful egative impact on a person trying to secure an individual personality because they are constantly reminded of their differences in appearance, culture, tradition and behavior. The school yard is a microcosm for the wider society where difference means persecution. Mia Francis lists some of the name calling her son endured in small country town where a dark skinned Asian was a rarity. The taunts to the differences in appearance make it tough to create a solid identity because of emotions such as desolation and segregation.
Furthermore for second generation migrant children navigating between two cultures and languages can be hard to fit in and belong. “If I couldn’t express myself then who was myself. ” 14 year old Simon Tong wonders relating the identity crisis he experience when his Hong Kong English made no sense to his class mates. He felt a loss of dignity a diminishing of his very self. His story suggests that without the means of expressing yourself you remain in the shadows of your adopted country, unable to belong. This illustrates that a judgmental society can ake it hard for someone to achieve a sense of belonging to the community. Feelings of isolation and rejection can force us to compromise our morals and values and conform to the expectations of society. From feeling different from those around us, we often change our behavior to meet their expectation so that we can belong. In Sunil’s story, he was embarrassed by his Indian name because no one could pronounce it or they make silly names from it, therefore he changed his name to Neil. For some time he could feel their classmates approval and he was able to fit in.
Therefore to feel accepted by the society you need to conform in order to establish your identity because of the unaccepting culture they experience. As a result, it can be hard to establish your identity when you feel different from those around you due to family expectations, appearance, and language. Communities that discriminate against cultural minorities can make it hard for individuals to create a sense of identity. Often those who find it difficult to establish their identities in a society where it’s hard to belong, conform to meet the society’s views to feel accepted.