Culture’s Effect on Values/Priorities
I believe that individuals begin to learn culture, or more specifically the ways of a society, from the minute they are born. Generally speaking, this is referred to as socializing, and it encompasses much more than just going to school. People’s views about work and leisure are shaped by their cultural origins, which in turn influence how they see themselves and others. It has an impact on their values—on what they consider to be good and bad in their worldview. This is an example of how a person’s choices are influenced by the society in which he or she is raised and educated. Steven Lim’s experiment on how Asian parents react to a show of emotion and love is a perfect example of how culture defines personal expression (Lim). My culture is quite similar to this, in that personal expression of emotions is rare, yet present through other means that are more actions than words.
My culture has shaped my personal values and priorities in a number of ways. First, my culture is very social and looks primarily for societal gain more than the individual. As a result, I find myself being a better team player as opposed to going for personal glory. My culture prioritizes family happiness over individual family members’ position. For example, if a family member has a function, my culture requires that every family member attends and contributes to the overall collaborative effort of the family as opposed to passive participation evident in other cultures. I am needed to actively seek ways to make the family better even where it means sacrificing personal goals.
The values and priorities of my own culture have positively contributed to my own level of happiness. For example, the focus on family and society allows me to enjoy life more easily. I am less materialistic as defined by Amy Joy and I can honestly find happiness in factors such as togetherness, unity, collaboration, family, society, and being a member of a team (Joy). Here, my cultural characteristics have shaped my own values to create a level of happiness based on what is considered important at the basic level.