“What would others think of me?” What a redundant thought isn’t it? But yet none of us is able to do something without it crossing our minds first. Well if you are able to, congratulations and please do share your secret with us. Joking aside, our nation has a collectivist culture. We are not one of the individualistic communities where independence and personal identity are promoted.
In a collectivistic culture, the focus is on the belief that the group is more important than an individual, which is shown through the use of conformity, consensus, and group agreement. As a result, we grow up considering what others think is more important than what we think. Fortunately and unfortunately, we do care of other people around us a lot that sometimes we stop giving a thought to what we want and worry about the reactions we will get from others.
The personal and social effects of this acculturation can be seen anytime if you pay attention to your actions. For instance I pass by a puddle without jumping in it on a rainy day or constantly ignore the snow drifts that I could have thrown myself in and made a snow angel during wintertime. I don’t stop to look at the mesmerizing sunset when I am walking down a street even though I aspire to standstill and watch it until it disappears. I don’t wear the clothes I fancy to put on because others might not like it. Others might think it is not fashionable, appropriate, pretty or suitable. I don’t play with my cousins’ toys although they look so much fun as I would look childish according to our society. Sometimes I don’t dance when a melodious music fills my ears nor sing along my favorite song. Further, there is times I stay silent when discussing a topic as the majority thinks the opposite of mine. Because what majority says is always true(!). Just after I finish what I was working on, I run to show it to my friends, my family, my teachers to get their approval. Rather than first appreciating my effort, creativity, success and determination.
If I were to set examples of social impacts of collectivism: “We” consciousness prevails rather than I, change is moderated through the eyes of the group and the majority of people move through the change with the group. Conflict is avoided and disagreement is hidden. Fear of not meeting the group’s expectations tends to be greater than the fear of individual failure.
In conclusion I believe we shouldn’t let others opinions affect our lives that much. We should be aware our worth and our uniqueness should be appreciated. This valuing of independence, self-sufficiency, and self-definition should be prioritized.