On the hillside, a lioness gave birth to her pups. A newborn cub slipped into a sheep flock. The separated little cub mingled with sheep and grew up. Because the lion’s cub has seen sheep around him since birth and grew up among them. So it had the characteristics and habits of a sheep, and despite being a lion, it ate grass. Sheep never felt threatened by its presence because it jumped, played, and bleated like sheep. The lion-sheep, like other sheep, fears predators even lions. A lion once stalked a flock of sheep from the cover of a hillside. The lion saw a young lion eating grass in the sheep flock. The hunter lion was surprised to witness a young lion in the captivity of sheep. He vowed to break the sheep’s hold on the young lion.
The sheep-lion fled in terror when he saw the lion approaching him. After a long race, the lion grabbed it. The sheep-lion was trembling with fear and constantly begging for release. The lion said: “You do not need to be scared. I brought you here not to hunt; I got you here to free you. You are a lion and not a sheep.”
The lion-sheep did not believe and insisted: “I am a sheep. How can I be a lion?”, and wanted to go back to the sheep flock. The lion explained: “Growing up with the flock, you have forgotten your identity, lost your confidence, and become like one of those sheep.” The lion dragged him to a nearby river and asked him to see his reflection in the water. The lion-sheep had drunk from rivers many times earlier, but he focuses on his reflection, image, and appearance this time. Within an eyewink, the lion-sheep realizes that it is identical to the lion and that he is a lion, not a sheep. All the layers of “sheepness” peeled off at once, and a new thunderous roar echoed through valleys, scaring the sheep hiding behind bushes to flee for their lives.
Medical researches are evidence that a person’s bloodline, caste affiliation, or geography do not have much effect on their attitudes, habits, or identity. It depends on our parental upbringing, social programming, and national psychology. As the sheep-lion fears other lions of the same race. We develop aversions to certain groups of people and strong attachments to others based on the predetermined social checklist we are taught from the time we are young. You don’t have to come from a specific family in order to pursue a career in innovation or science, but you do need a genuine passion for the field, a supportive social environment, equal opportunities and ample access to appropriate resources.
Jane E. Brody explains in her article “What Twins Can Teach Us About Nature vs Nurture” the significance of each child’s environment and how it influences their behavioural characteristics. Despite the fact that the twins were genetically identical, their upbringing resulted in significant differences in their abilities.
It will not be incorrect to refer to it as apartheid rather than racism. If presented briefly and concisely, Arthur Gobineau’s infamous work “The Equality of Human Races” reinforces this ancient thinking of colourism. According to him a certain race, colour, or people belonging to certain geographies are civilized. In fact, these people believe that education, awareness, resources, and opportunities are unimportant to the development of culture and civilization.
Humanity has split itself into colours, creeds, and races based on geographical, social, linguistic, political, and cultural concerns. Even though the modern world has earned the moniker “global village,” vested interests have hindered people from interacting with one another. Even the most charitable and unbiased individuals can become victims of negative perception because of their skin colour, geographical and ethnic affiliations, or belonging to a nation or country with a poor reputation.
Other people benefit from a positive image if they live in a society with a good reputation. When good and pleasant people from long-war-torn countries, and economically bankrupt and corrupt societies are forced to migrate and settle elsewhere, they undergo a long-term identity crisis. When a person experiences an identity crisis, he loses confidence and self-worth. Nobody can benefit from a person’s skills and knowledge if he lacks confidence in himself. A lack of confidence makes it difficult to make decisions, and cultivate meaningful relationships with other people.
A child who lacks self-confidence remains silent despite knowing the correct answer to a teacher’s question at school, whereas a child who is confident does not hesitate to give an incorrect answer. Confidence is what keeps you alive and motivated.
Remember that a lion is not the strongest, largest, most energetic, or bravest animal in the jungle. A male elephant can weigh up to 14,000 pounds. Even a pack of lions would be intimidated by an elephant’s tusks and heavy hooves. A hippo’s jaw, with its 1800 PSI bite force and prominent teeth, can easily pulverize a lion’s body. The average male giraffe weighs over 2000 pounds and stands seven feet tall—before that’s you factor in their six-foot necks. As a result, they tower over the typical 450-pound, seven-foot-long lion. A giraffe’s kick has a force of 2,000 pounds per square inch.
The lion’s fearsome reputation stems from its confidence rather than its physical prowess. If the collective negative perception of your country, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or social backwardness affects your self-confidence, you are experiencing an identity crisis. You can easily overcome it and regain your confidence by implementing the following strategies:
1. Introduce yourself to others: A person’s “self” transcends all social, linguistic, and geographical affiliations. Your “appearance” or “presence” can remind people of their accumulated information about your nationality, gender, colour, race, or beliefs. Still, once you let them know you as an individual by giving them a personal experience of your thoughts, attitudes, high reliability, and friendship, they will know you better. They grow attached to you and begin to detach you from the negativity.
2. Get involved and get others involved: “Man is a social animal,” Aristotle said. To put it another way, an unsocial man is a wild animal. Living a wild life in our modern, interconnected society is self-defeating and worthless. If you remain segregated because of differences in race, belief, gender, and national identity, you are also pushing others away because of their racial, linguistic, or national identity. There are loving and kind people working to bring about social harmony. It is critical to be welcoming and involved.
3. Get to know: Become familiar with the basics of your host country’s language. Learn a little history and social etiquette, and respect social values as you try to capitalize on economic opportunities.
4. Take responsibility: If people continue to refer to you or treat you based on your race, nationality, or where you’re from, it means you haven’t been able to establish yourself as an individual yet. In other words, the more people learn about and appreciate your unique qualities, the more likely you are to emerge from the limiting stereotypes associated with your race, ethnicity, or nationality. Inter-caste and inter-national marriages show that individual identity triumphs over collective negative perception.
Reclaim your personal identity. Allow these words to echo in your mind: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Once you expand your individuality the labels that others have pasted on you begin to peel off.