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A Reflection on “Role Model” Axiom

A Misguided Conception Uttered by Social Command on Individual Behavior

Originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium

Photo by Engin akyurt on Unsplash

Human beings care what people think of them. Despite the common phrase we use that states, “I don’t care what other people think about me,” yet unconsciously, we still care about what other people think about us!

The primary question is not as to if we care but why we do!

The human being is a social creature even though we inherently possess our individuality. And to keep the latter two in a balance, we must, as individuals, climb the social ladder. While doing that, we continuously assess and reassess our society’s position and perception of the community around us.

In the extreme scenario, we may even feel a social anxiety phenomenon, worrying that we will be rejected because our success depends on other people.

The price for civilization is a constituency, a sense of “sameness,” which allows us to feel prudent. It protects us against physical and emotional devastation. That is simply because getting the approval of our surroundings makes us feel a part of them by building similar values and similar mores around ourselves. Thus, our oblivious hustle to prevail strides us toward the desire for public reception.

We fear that annihilation may be one reason some people may feel uneasy going out to the public and why parents groom and culture their children to fit into their “tribe” norms.

Virtuous self-esteem and haven are all swathed by the longing to be keen on and recognized. That is why the average human being has the predisposition to elect the safe cross. For instance, they always want to be religiously “correct,” and so politically. They strive to find the most fitting relationships and careers while acknowledged in their modern-day society. Human being cares deeply about what others think because the rudimentary human within is still struggling to endure. That is precisely why I presume people research and select role models to minimize the battle between selflessness and their role within the collective sphere.

Role of the role model in our social wellbeing

Human life around the game of societal prosperity is multifaceted and competitive. Maintaining vitality also viability is a lot of undertaking given the relatively short life span. The time an average soul yields enough experience, if at all, to efficiently sustain the sovereign status of the self, maybe already be too late to harvest the crop of their sweat. Hence, to bypass human being seeks an alternative as a shortcut. One way to accomplish that is by peeking into their immediate community to find those who have gained mainstream approval. The individual intentionally mimics such persons’ roles and tasks in society, hoping to find emotional, psychological, and physical restitution. In a literal, that is the role of role models in our community.

A role model is not necessarily a credible person, as often their seekers know little or naught about them but fall into the popularity trap. Today, amid expansive social media reality, people often find themselves on either side of the popularity and disciple aisle.


Photo by Andre Sebastian on Unsplash

Let us not confuse ourselves by differentiating the child role modeling practice from the adulthood role model.

For children, it is an innate necessity to have a role model. Within that scenario, one can only hope such a role model is a “healthy” one! Even though the definition of a healthy role model is a separate discussion. However, concerning the adults, Image success and the social image is a telltale sign of a different problem.

Subjective Self-Image vs. Objective Perceptual Experience

Searching for a role model during adulthood entails a paradoxical sequel. It is the outcome of a “tug of war” between a person’s self-perception vs. how others see them.

The so-called self-clarity concept is about a construct related to a person’s self‐concept structure and organization. However, some argue that self‐concept clarity may best be understood as a combination of subjective, metacognitive beliefs about the self‐concept and objective makeup and consortium. Thus, the unique impact of objective and subjective clarity. Then again, within such a consortium, the balance is not usually achieved ultimately; then, the desire to have a role model becomes even more inevitable. Furthermore, once we are role seekers obliged by the polarized collective forces around us, then we engage in search of a person whose etiquette, exemplar, or success is emulated by “us”! We compare ourselves with that reference person or persons who populate the social role we aspire.

The Psychology of Role Modeling is more than Fitting into the Society

Role models often present a way of motivating human beings to set and achieve zealous goals. That is particularly true for those who have been the target of stigmatization in the realization sphere. Role Modeling exploits role models’ power to harness and navigate role aspirants’ motivation, reinforce their existing goals, and facilitate their adoption of new pursuits. But that does not stop there!

Today, in our limited physical world, one can aspire to unlimited role models. Scholars tend to categorize this into two simple groups, “Positive” and “Negative” role models. Generally, a positive role model bears a role in demonstrating values, manners, and acting, which are presumed reasonable in that role. On the other close of the gamut, a negative role model covey a dysfunctional trait from the “Self-clarity” standpoint, which is utterly paradoxical. Thus, the distinction between positive and negative role models can easily lead to accepting a false dilemma.

The psychology of selecting a role model and the Self-clarity concept, in conjunction, create a milieu that becomes highly unpredictable, especially for those who place too much weight on the collective opinion of their surroundings or alienate their individualism.

The Role Model in the era of Collectivism

The contemporary realm’s idealism has an overwhelming impact on the individual’s alternatives. Furthermore, it dictates the choice of Role model. The collective impetuses have the propensity to construct images of selected traits compatible with the norms of that society. That is fascism!

The advent of social media and its lofty influence on individual self-concept identity has given way to the mainstream’s unanimous preference. Those divested of unique identity are insecure, thus Seek role models within the profile of the society.

The Take-Home Message

It is pertinent to state that, although maybe argumentative, if an adult human being, instead of besieging to find the suitable role model to imitate, spends half as much to recognize their individual values as well as others within the society, then we would not be lapped into the vicious circle of insecurity, collectivism, and fascism. That will also open our eyes realm where social media marketing will determine the perfect attitude for us all, how to eat, what to eat, and how we talk. Finally, once we respect our unique personal values, then without strain, we can also avoid the intimidation of, “If you are not with us, then you must be against us!”

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