Published: | United Kingdom

Perspectives

Sense of Self

I had an interesting conversation with one of the psychiatric consultants on the wards about how the way we picture our world stems from our relationships with our caregivers, which for most has been our mothers. It is the reason why Sigmund Freud's consultations with patients usually involved asking them to talk about their mothers.

It is the information that our mothers fed to us that we believe of ourselves- whether it is "you are intelligent", "you are beautiful", "you can be a bit adamant", "you are talented" or "you are kind". What they say about us shapes a significant portion of how we see ourselves in our understanding of this world.

When we are met with something that doesn't fit with this understanding of ourselves or this world, we deconstruct or reshape our model. Sometimes this deconstruction and re-shaping happens drastically and suddenly that it takes months to years to remodel, if at all. This is when we are unable to react to the adversity or trauma at hand.

Now, why am I rambling on about this. Well, I think this is something we overlook. I think as parents and as role models of some of those younger than us, we sometimes forget our pivotal role in their experiences and perspectives of life. This may be why our snarky comments or tough love nature might not always be the best for their self-esteem or confidence. With PTSD for example amongst soldiers, it is thought to be a result of their pre-traumatic sense of self as a strong and brave hero being disrupted as a result of trauma such as a bomb. This then forces them to rethink their understanding of self and the world. I think it is also something I want to specifically reiterate in the Canadian-Tamil community.

For the younger ones growing in a more developed Toronto Tamil Community, their understanding of the world will be much different to us because of their experiences and it isn't something we can completely understand. We can however acknowledge that it will be complicated to venture the western ordeals of life whilst keeping up with our traditional and conservative values. This is further complicated because of how divergent these values can be and they don't always fit perfectly between both realms.

This doesn't just apply to the younger ones either. It applies to my generation, but also my parents generation. Life is complicated, but cultural differences have a huge impact on our psyche. With that said, I would like to emphasize that requiring extra support for our mental stability is entirely normal given all these changes. I think we underestimate the difficulties we deal with - sometimes also in hopes to seem "normal". This may also stem from internalized racism- when we think of ourselves as less than compared to other races. This is a subconscious sense of self that we are not always aware of, but it has a substantial effect on how we think of ourselves. This notion can also be deep-rooted from our experiences from childhood and how other community members and relatives think of themselves. This is why I think seeking support whether it's through counselling, meditation, medication, or mindfulness (Headspace is excellent) can only be beneficial for our self-esteems and livelihood.

Lots of love.

- க

 

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1 Comments


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Anon Anon
Just now • Canada

This is a well written article and very helpful.

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