Social Identity and How it Affects you
Social identity as defined in www.wikipedia.org is the portion of an individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership in a relevant social group.
To some extent, we all define ourselves by our race, our nationality, our religion, our sex, the socially useful role we play and the group we join. Looking at the roles you have already taken on and those you are preparing or planning for ia another way of discovering how much you are making of yourself. You may decide that you are already taking as much as you need to.
Within a lifetime, we all in one way or the other perform variety of roles. We come into this world with the most basic, others we aquire and a few others we choose. For a safe sense of social identity we need to balance our different roles.
Exercise: Your roles
2. A plain sheet of paper
3. An eraser
Pick your pencil and draw a circle in the sheet of paper. Begin to write in the circle the social identity you were born with. This should include your race, nationality, tribe, sex, parent’s social status, physical characteristics and position in the family.
Now draw a second circle which should go around the first and begin to write roles of responsibility you have aquired – specifically, those that brings commitment and restrictions as well as priviledge. You tend to benefit from the status of the position because you are appointed, qualified or elected but at the same time you are restrained from acting freely. These could include; For example, Husband or a wife, Father or Mother, Company secretary, committee chairman of an association, policeman, pastor or imam, youth leader.
Finally, draw a third circle enveloping the other two and write in this ring the names of independent roles that you play. These could include vocational roles or leisure interest that you can take up and put down. In practice anyone can have as many of them as they choose. Like amateur athhlete, neighboorhood soccer coach, home gardner, cook, cyclist, choir lead or member, photographer and so on.
Now take some time to think about each role the ponder on the following:
1. how it has shaped your view of
2. how does each role make you to feel?
3. consider how your role relate to each other.
4. how do you choose your roles
5. do you have a role that blocks other roles?
6. how do roles you plan to take “feature” with what you already have?
7. look at what roles tied to a particular time of day or week.
8. look at what happens when a role isnt acknowledged.
The roles we have aquired overtime influence our sense of identity. what we tend to do is compartmentalise ourselves so that we only allow people see us in a role at a time. A magistrate for example may be a father or mother, choir master, a gardner but may be seen by people only as a magistrate.
Action plan If you feel some roles are ruling your life, look deep to see if you can drop some of your responsibilities and take on more enjoyable roles. If you feel a gap or space in your sense of identity, consider other roles you would prefer and search for what it would take you to get or achieve them