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113. It is primarily through our identification with social groups
that we define ourselves.
A lot of times, we question ourselves "Who am I?";and we are in pursuit
of the answer to it throughout our lifetime. The definition of
ourselves is a dynamic process, in which we position ourselves to form
expectations and in which we interate with social groups to get
feedbacks. The latter is the primary one.
To begin with, nothing is absolute in the world. However, everything
is judged according to a standard, which is relatively absolute. Things
are compared and ranked according to the standard. We also define
ourselves refer to a certain standard. The abstract standard is usually
set according to our own values and social norms as well. Our own values
are very subjective. It is ultimately difficult to look into ourselves.
Therefore, we just define ourselves as we wish. Things become very
different when the third party is involved. The third party could be a
friend, a professor or our parents,and let us call them "social group"
as a whole to see to the difference from a high level. The third party
involvement makes the our process of defining ourselves more objective.
Due to the interacation with others, we get feedbacks from others. People
judge us by social normes and the reaction they have towards us works as
a mirror, reflecting our true self from a beholder's perspective. We
always behave in respect to the definition that we set for ourselves, and
from people's feedback, we get to know how the others think about that.
In this sense, our definition is adjusted to be a better one, eventually
end up complete. That is to say, we primarily define ourselves through
the indenfication with social groups. Without the self-positioning
beforehand, the latter identification with social groups won't be so
effective and useful.
Next, we are likely to go to one extreme if we just define ourselves
totally on our own; and we are also inclined to go to the other extreme if
we merely take others' opinions into account. In the first occasion,
since the definitions are all done by ourselves, we were like blind to
the people and world outside. Our own standard with out comparison with
others is an absolute and not necessarily right one. We are possibly holding
the view that we are perfect and that we are always correct. In the second
ocassion, we are in loss of ourselves,and the force coming from the
outside taking control over us. We are probably dragged by different opinions
to different directions in order that we could never come out with a
consistent edition of definition of our own.
To end up, our ultimate effort to achieve the answer to "Who am I?" provides
us with the movivation to define ourselves, to judge our past behaviors
and to set our future goals. Our contact with the social groups helps us to
understand ourselves in a more comprehensive and objective way, which plays
a primary role in the definition process.