Identity 101: Layer 9 – Group Affiliations

The groups you belong to are another potentially powerful source of self-image. While your groups aren’t actually part of you, you are part of them, and they reflect back on you. The question is, how much do they reflect on you, and how does that influence your quality of life?

Note that there are two ways to derive your sense of self – you can decide what you think and feel about your various layers, and you can decide what to believe others think and feel about you based on the same criteria. One big benefit of deciding what you believe is that you become more grounded, and others’ opinions influence you less forcefully.

You can make the most of your group affiliations by taking some interest and pride in them – but, ideally, without feeling like they pit you against other groups, or imagining that your group affiliations make others think less of you.

To find out how your groups influence your sense of self, answer the following questions:

Part A: Mark how strongly you identify with the following groups:

  1. Your gender (male, female, etc.):
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware
  2. Your age:
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware
  3. Your race or nationality:
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware
  4. Your region (where you live or where you’re from):
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware
  5. Your socio-economic class:
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware
  6. Your politics or religion:
    I scarcely notice
    It’s no big deal
    It’s important but I don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    I am constantly aware

Part B: How do you think others think of your groups?

  1. Your gender (male, female, etc.):
    Many people dislike or disrespect my gender
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It influences how people treat me
    It’s the main thing people see in me
  2. Your age:
    Many people dislike or disrespect my age
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It influences how people treat me
    It’s the main thing people see in me
  3. Your race or nationality:
    Many people dislike or disrespect my race or nationality
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It influences how people treat me
    It’s the main thing people see in me
  4. Your region (where you live or where you’re from):
    Many people dislike or disrespect my region
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It influences how people treat me
    It’s the main thing people see in me
  5. Your socio-economic class:
    Many people dislike or disrespect my soci0-economic class
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    It’s the main thing people see in me
  6. Your politics or religion:
    Many people dislike or disrespect my politics or religion
    It’s no big deal, I blend in with all the others
    It’s important but others don’t think about it often
    It guides many aspects of how I live
    It’s the main thing people see in me

Part C: How much does your perception of how others think of you influence you?

  1. My projection (how you imagine others think of you):
    Doesn’t affect me, I scarcely think about it
    Is no big deal, I’m aware but it doesn’t change anything
    Makes me angry, I hate that others think of me that way!
    Makes me happy, I love that others think so highly of me!
    Confuses me, I never know what others are thinking but I’m always curious!

Part D: If you could think and feel any way you wanted about yourself, how would you?

  1. I would love to:
    Slip by under the radar and not get noticed at all
    See myself and others’ perceptions accurately, according to reality and not wishful thinking
    Be more or less like everyone else and not stand out
    Believe I am awesome and that everyone else agrees!

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