One fascinating aspect of daily life is that we participate in many different cultures and we can switch between them. Sometimes this switching between different cultures can be with ease and sometimes with difficulty depending on where we perceive that we truly belong.
Forming Your Cultural Identity
Since we were born, we have been brought up and taught the values and norms of a specific culture by our family or other influential figures in our lives. We learn that these values are vital to survive within the context of that specific culture. As we grow up, we learn to socialize with people outside of our family, as well as learning other skills and perhaps even other languages to interact with other individuals who have similar interests as us.
This process of learning a specific culture and socializing with others is a continuous process that helps us adapt to the different cultures we interact with on a daily basis.
Let’s now take a step back and see this process from a bigger perspective.We grow up within our family learning what is ‘normal’. We then go to school and are given the skills we require to survive in an economical way, whilst also learning by observation and participation what is required to survive and potentially thrive socially. Afterwards, we may either go to work, or university then work – specializing in technical roles with our own individual personalities.
This personality, our cultural identity, may be the accumulation of all our experiences of learning different cultures and socializing with others.
Culture and Socialisation: The Building Blocks of Our Identity
As human beings, we are social creatures (although the quantity and quality of social interaction will vary between individuals) and so, there is a natural and innate desire to ‘belong’ to a group. It is very useful for you to be able to separate your true identity from all the cultures you belong to, to identify what your true values and morals are and then observe those groups from an outsider’s perspective.
Do the groups you ‘belong’ to correspond to your true identity? How many different cultures do you belong to and can you articulate what they are?
Perhaps being able to discover where you are happiest and where can reach your full potential will help you to identify what’s valuable to you. Culture can both shape and guide us but also be innate. How much do you think the cultures we interact with have helped us become the person we are today?
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!