We in India, are brought up in a collective society. In India, extended family and kinship is of utmost importance. Families follow a patriarchal ideology. Indian families are strong, stable and endure toughest of times. The decisions we make have effects on each other. Therefore each member has to take into consideration, how his/her decision will have an effect on others in his nearest surroundings. As an example, my father was brought up in a very traditional home. My grandfather did not let my grandmother work(even though she had a university degree in pedagogy), but instead wanted her to take care of his children. She had to accept that decision. When my dad was in his teenage years, he got a job opportunity in UAE, but our grandfather wanted him to stay close to the family and take care of them. He had to oblige. For us parents and their wishes are very important. My father always repeats that, this is why he did’nt want to make the same mistake with his children. He was open about me living abroad and getting to know the world, and often reminds us how lucky we are, and how much he regrets that he couldn’t leave to a foreign land. The burning question he always had is, ”what would have been, had i left India. Who would i have become?’’ Nowadays my father and mother have more time to travel and see the world.
In India, it is considered impolite to be individualistic. We have much more stronger norms in India, than in Poland. In the evenings we can’t go out of the house after certain hours, or meet with friends and go out to the city. There is no question of drinking alcohol, or going to parties. Even if sometimes i drink beer with my friends, i have to tip toe my way back to house and go back to sleep(i won’t even say good night to my mom, so that she won’t find out that i drank alcohol). We are taught to suppress our feelings. and not to say about what we ‘feel’, but instead say what other’s want to ‘hear’. We are taught to control our feelings, because feelings are related to ego. Expressing my opinion is egoistical. If someone is making me nervous or angry, it is probably because something is wrong with us, and we should control our feelings. How would my actions have an effect on other’s? Think before I act.
In Poland, we have a lot of opportunities to indulge in fun activities. There are little norms and rules if so whatever. You have to have that 'control’ in Yourselves. I had to learn to control myself in Poland. I still have problem in controlling myself. Everyday i make a small step learning to have that control. Children from a very young age are taught to share their feelings and be proud of their ‘thought’ and about who they are. To think and to to feel is human. Are You unhappy?, express it!, feeling angry? show it!, do You love some one?, express Your love and tell them how You feel. There is nothing to be ashamed about. Very often I am amazed at how a 12 or 14 year old in Poland have their own voice and and know how to air their feelings. Between the age of 11 and 14, a typical Polish teenager has his/her own likes and dislikes, is confident, have a girl friend/boy friend, and pretty much think for themselves and do what they please. Polish people, i feel are pretty much confident about their thoughts and feelings. In a sense they are not ashamed about expressing it.
In Poland adults can decide on many things which could have importance in their lives. The type of university that they want to attend, to decide on what they want to do in their life, who they want to become..etc..etc. In popular ads, the messages are mostly catered towards people and their individualism. Society and popular culture promotes individualism. Ads related to automobiles, home appliances are all related to the individual. Automobile Ads remind You to buy that car because You can, and You should. The individual is superior. Take that vacation to Spain or Portugal, because ‘You’ deserve it. The most famous bank in Poland has the title ‘Open a savings account for the most important person in this world, YOU!’
There is a positive side of this individualism. When children are brought up to be individualistic, they take their own decisions and are 100 percent responsible for it. This leads them to be more confident in their own ability. Once they learn this, they become more and more independent, which then reduces stress on their parents. But there is a downside too. Because of too much individualism, many a times we can find people with their own individualistic views and demands. These people are like balloons flying around the sky. They make their own choices and do what they pretty much want. At some point they just get lost in their own thoughts. They don’t know what they really want to achieve. So is Individualism is good or bad? Let me know in the comment section below
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