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Exposure to Conflicting Ideals Can Weaken a Person’s Sense of Self Essay

Standing at a crossroad, some turn left while others turn right. Will you still choose to go straight even if nobody chooses so? Will you still believe in your beliefs if your values are being strongly challenged by the main stream? The ideal statement is that one should be steadfast in his/her beliefs! However, in reality, exposure to conflicting ideals can cause people to lose sense of self. To settle the conflicting ideals in order to belong predicates to sacrifice one’s own beliefs. As human beings are primary gregarious animals, the impulse to belong is strong.

One, who holds different values, will feel alienation from the majority. Consequently, he or she needs to succumb to the main stream in the certain group which he or she wants to belong in order to gain acceptance. Hence, the original, or say the true images of them are obliterated and transferred to fake, too, unstable images. Theresa McTerry, one of the characters in Bombshell written by Joanna Murray-Smith, is so an example of such kinds of people who sacrifice their own identities for the sake of social acceptance and validation.

Theresa lives in the contemporary world which has witnessed much advancement, yet, she holds a bygone tradition which she persists can provide her the sameness with other women in society. Her fear of the alienation overwhelms her limited understanding of the dark undercurrents that lie beneath the surface of the failed marriage. In the conflicts of feminism and the male-orientated tradition, Theresa, along with those women through the man-dominated ages, has compromised their own identities for the chance to belong to the hallowed institute of marriage.

For some, being constantly exposed under public scrutiny can distract their expectations to social expectations. For the sociable animals who also need to seek for individual fulfillments, human beings always find it hard to achieve the twin goals of social cooperation and personal satisfaction. Facing the conflicts between these two, people always tend to let the social expectation play the role of self-expectation as they care more about the affirmation from other people in the same group or the society.

No doubt, this can promote an inevitable loss of self. Meryl Louise Davenport, another character in Bombshell, who pursues the traditional domestic roles, only creates herself a fragmented existence in which she has no room to reflect her own life. The performance of an adequate mother as well as a lovable wife is, from her perspective, a constant appraisal by the public, children, teachers, and by other mothers.

At the constant bombardment of expectations of women from the society, Meryl, a woman, mother and consumer, is bewildered and has a fragmented view of self. To sum up, individuals are likely to assimilate themselves to the majority when experience some sorts of conflicts. In the purpose either to belong or to satisfy others’ expectation, conformity always seems to be essential for people to cooperate in groups and society. Hence, ego identity for each individual is always attenuated when exposed to controversial ideals.


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