Social values and that apply to everybody
Societies have set specific values and standards that apply to everybody. Any deviation from the established standards may be considered as a violation of the cultural law and, therefore, met with punishment in terms of ridicule or scorn. For example, some societies have set standards on the ideal man. Financial stability, a good education, and a family are considered essential elements for a man to attract respect from society. Sometimes the pressure to adhere to these norms is so much that one may experience a lot of stress coping with it. Eventually, individuals may be forced to change behavior or appearance not because they believe in the set societal standards, but to avoid pressure associated with the persons who go against the general expectations of a particular society.
In my society (Chinese society), there are a lot of expectations for people of different ages; children, young adults, young women and men among other age groups. For the case of young adults, society expects that one needs to achieve certain objectives in life depending on the age she has attained. Young men are supposed to marry after reaching a certain age and young women are expected to be married upon reaching the age which society considers fit for starting a family. These expectations of the Chinese society often result from the centuries-old belief that children are an important aspect of the family and, therefore, young people need to be married as soon as they attain the required age so as to live to this expectation. In other words, tradition has a huge influence on the decisions of many young people in regards to looking for a partner as a way of preparing for marriage.
Changes in Chinese society
Although changes have happened to the Chinese society over the recent decades on expectations about the age of marriage, much of the expectation on men has not changed. Men are expected to start dating and preparing for marriage most usually before they attain the age of 30. Additionally, they are expected to marry ladies of a younger age and, therefore, any attempt to date an older lady may be considered as a taboo.
The cultural values and norms discussed in the previous paragraph are exactly the reason as to why I once changed my behavior so that I can fit in the expectations of some of my friends, relatives, parents and society as a whole. From a personal perspective, the experience of being single has been one which my society expects me to be married at a certain age. The age bracket of between 20-30 is considered in my society as the ideal age for marriage. So, in my early twenties I got the impression that people wanted me to start dating and later settle down as a family person. Contrary this expectation, I viewed myself as a man who intends to invest in his career before taking up the responsibilities of a family. I wanted to break away from the norm that getting married is more of a priority than advancing personal ambitions relating to education and financial stability. All I wanted is to plan for my life and not somebody else plan for me. Besides, I wanted the freedom to decide on my future as well as live my own life without any restrictions. In any case, there were millions of men working in Chinese cities who were very successful, yet they are not in a hurry to get married because they considered marriage as one of the things they would do in life and not one of the things society expects them to do in life.
Own career education
The determination of pursuing my career in education and also gain financial autonomy helped me overcome many challenges associated with the societal expectations of getting married at the trequired age.' However, things got worse as time progressed. As I have indicated in the previous paragraph, these expectations come with a lot of pressure. For one, a good number of my friends were getting married or had got married. So, people kept asking me to look for a woman and get married because my time was expiring.' By the way, girls who delay marrying are referred to as leftovers.' In this regard, people kept warning me that I risk marrying leftovers and that meant I was likely to live an unhappy marriage because leftover women do not make good wives. Besides, my parents and other relatives kept reminding me that time was running out for me to get married. My mother, in particular, wanted a grandchild. It was a huge concern for the parents that I am single and I there was no sign of getting a woman for myself. In a similar attitude, some of my close relatives warned me that time was running out for me to get married. I need to take action or else I bring embarrassment to the family. These concerns were expressed almost on a daily basis.
Although the pressure to get married did not affect me for a long time, it reached a point where it began taking a toll on my health because of the daily reminders from all corners of the society. After sometime, I felt I was obligated to heed the advice of my parents. I also felt that I should respect what some of my friends and relatives suggested. And above all, I wanted to find a solution to the extreme stress that such attitudes had brought into my life. As a result, I began considering dating to satisfy my parents and some of my relatives and friends.
Psychological skills training
Admittedly, dating is not a good experience when one does not do it in his or her own will. Psychological preparation is critical. So, I went ahead and dated a couple of ladies with the intention of meeting my future wife. To my disappointment, there was little motivation. Also, I felt that relationships were curtailing my freedom to go out anytime I want. Some of my career and job demands were also not being met as before. It was a terrible experience. As a result, it became another source of stress for me as well. To the surprise of most people, I quit dating and resolved to engage in it until I am psychologically prepared to engage myself in a serious relationship.
In conclusion, I changed my behavior to suit the perceptions and attitudes of my society. Instead of focusing on my career, I yielded to pressure to comply with the expectations of the society in spite of the adverse effects such expectations had on me. Although such dating adventures realized minimal results, they helped learn many lessons about women. More importantly, I learned that it is critical not to waiver in pursuit of personal happiness no matter the intensity of the opposition one faces from the forces of our society.
-General background information about cultural values and standards
-Influence of culture on behavior
-Introduction of my cultural values and standards society
-Expectations related to cultural values
-How age alters the expectations related to cultural norms
-Conflicts between societal expectations and my academic ambitions
-Rewards of ignoring cultural standards and expectations
-Adverse effects of ignoring cultural values and expectations
-Forceful change of behavior to fit the cultural circumstances
-Summary of the body
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