Exposure to conflict can weaken a person’s sense of self
In this world we are often exposed to elements of conflict with other people and this can sometimes have a negative effect on our identity and sense of belonging. As social creatures, we need to belong because we develop an understanding of ourselves through our relationships with others. When these associations are threatened we can be bereft of an invaluable opportunity for identity formation. However there are instances where conflict can have the converse effect, in that it can actually strengthen a person’s sense of self. Accordingly, the effects of conflict are twofold and in both cases, conflict is a crucial component in the process of self construal. Humans need to belong amongst others in order to develop a sense of their own identity. Like many other mammals, we are social animals and what is true of them is true of us. Animal psychologist Konrad Lorenz said “one chimpanzee is no chimpanzee” and likewise, human beings need the motivation of other humans in order to achieve their full potential. In the twelfth century, a number of babies were kept in total privacy to enable some researchers to determine whether they would acquire language of their own agreement, and, if so, what language they would obtain. The disastrous consequence was that the children that were raised quickly died, thus demonstrating the extreme extent to which we require connectivity with others. As expressed throughout ‘Growing Up Asian in Australia’ migrants particularly need a sense of affiliation with others who share their culture in order to strengthen their identity. Hop Dac expresses how his family ethos is ingrained in his own sense of self. In saying that he “was brought up in the belief that any good Vietnamese family was a self-sustaining one” he illustrates how being raised in a familiar culture can help construct and strengthen one’s system of beliefs. Joo In Chew’s “Chinese Dancing Bendigo”, also documents the...
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