Explore some of the aspects or even a single aspect of "identity" and personal development realities using your ideas and experience of self and others as the main source.
There are many interpretations of the word identity. It can be seen in many different ways; social identity, individual identity, cultural identity, etc. At a point in your life you may not even know what your identity is. Some people often find themselves lost and confused about who they truly are. When a person reaches that point in their life in which they have found their true identity and their purpose that is when a person has reached self actualization. This is the point in someone's life where they are content with their own talents and fulfillments. For some the question of identity may be easy, but for some it may not. Identity is something that is impacted greatly by ones surroundings. I feel that the biggest impact on your identity is your parents. Identity formation begins at an early age, the point when we have our parents telling us what to do, who to talk with, what to believe in, etc. My identity is something that I am not even sure if it is found yet or not. However, there are many people that are stuck in between two identities. What they themselves want to do and what their parents want.
From an early age, our only environment is our family. The way our family interacts with each other and how they treat each other is a great influence on a young child. These small things begin to shape a person's identity. A child will know the expectations the parents have on them from an early age. The expectations your parents have from you affect your life significantly, they are the two people that you want to make the most proud. I believe that a big influence my parents have had in my own life is what they expected from me educationally.
My father like many immigrant parents, decided to come to the United States, in order to give us better opportunities in life. Many immigrant families that come to the United States have very high standards they feel their children need to meet. Like me, who growing up always felt the need to be at the top of my class to insure that I receive the best grades in order to make my parents proud. Individuals with such parents feel this way because their parents gave up a part of their lives in order for the success of their children. This is similar to the story of Nguyen entitled, A Good Immigrant Student. In this short story about her life, she discusses how as a student she was insufferably good, and as she gives examples of having perfect cursive, and the highest possible scores in every class. Although Nguyen felt she had to try hard in order to impress her teachers, so they would better like her. I felt the need to try hard, in order to impress my parents and make them proud of me.
From my experience with being around other students with immigrant parents, there aren't a lot of careers their families want them to go into. There is being a lawyer or doctor mostly. Being a doctor had always been my goal in life too. From the point that I was in second grade and decided that I wanted to be a pediatrician. My family members referred to me as Dr. Dilara, as a funny nick name. This made me feel good about myself, I was excited to continue with my education and make them all proud of me. There is always a point in life where you may found yourself lost with yourself. This point in my life began in junior year of high school, in my PreCalulus math class. I loved the way my teacher taught us, how he made things so simple for us to understand. I began to think about becoming a teacher. However, knowing my parents wouldn't be very happy with my thoughts I didn't tell anyone. I felt rebellious for wanting to do this. This is again similar to Nguyen and how at times in her own life she wanted to be like the rebellious children in her class. She was tired of being so perfect. It was evident from the context of her story, that she wanted this burden of trying so hard to be perfect to be gone. When someone constantly has something expected from them often they get tired of trying so hard. This was the time in my own life that I was tired of trying so hard to get that 4.0 GPA in high school. Of course I still wanted to succeed so I never gave up trying.
I continued trying as hard as I could to succeed in my classes. Though, I was completely confused. I was stuck between two identities, what my parents wanted and what I wanted. My parents only wanted the best for me they knew that by trying I could succeed, although, many times I didn't want to try so hard. The fact of going to school for 10 more years didn't sound very good to me at the time. My whole life I was so sure that being what my parents wanted was good for me. From the moment I started school it was engraved in my mind that I had to be the best. I had no other choice, I was never given the option to explore and look for other careers. I felt similar to Andrew Sullivan's essay about The End of Gay Culture. In which at one point he describes how gay men and women were not seen as fully male or female. He describes how they were put down in society and burdened for what they believed.
The topic once came up when my younger sister was speaking to my father about wanting to be a teacher. He continued speaking to her and thought this would be a good career for her. I stepped into the conversation and jokingly commented saying, "Dad I want to be a teacher." He immediately looked angry and didn't understand why I'd want to do that, when according to him I had such high potential. I told him that I could do what I wanted to do, and what would make me happiest. Deep down, however, I myself was confused. The thought of him not even considering what I wanted to do was what made me angry. I felt as though I was never given an option on what I wanted to do. Considering being something other than a doctor isn't okay for my parents. I relate to Steptoe in her story about the Black girl who loved country music. She felt as though because of her skin color it was wrong for her to do this. She probably felt confused as well. Everyone around her was acting as though what she was doing was wrong, but as long as she enjoyed it why did it matter.
As of now, I am confused. Just like many of us when it comes to identity. Just as many of the characters in the various stories and essays. It is often hard to find one self when you have so many things around you impacting your decisions. So many things such as stereotypes, family, and the environment you live in. Sometimes you just have to go on with life the way you want to live it, and just see where it takes you. I still haven't reached that point in my life where I know who I truly am. I know I will one day.