A multiple-selves, where we act different in particular

A challenge I face within my placement, is ensuring what
I’m communicating to the young people is of value. I struggle with the feeling
that the stories and experiences I share; are not relevant and interesting. From
this negative perception of myself, sometimes, I engage less and come across as
very quiet, because I don’t feel like what I have is what they need.

Even when the lead coach, encourages me to speak on my
experiences and says what I have to offer is insightful, as sharing my experiences
helps the young people in their situations, I still get this feeling of not
being enough or relatable.

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I believe Tajfel and Turners Social Identity Theory
(1979) provides some explanation to these feelings. This theory suggests how a
person see’s themselves, is dependent on the group they feel they belong to. It
proposes the idea of multiple-selves, where we act different in particular
social contexts, depending on what group it is.

According to the theory, when I’m confident to share my stories
and experiences with family, this is because they’re an ‘ingroup’ for me. Low
confidence and self-belief, the theory states, is due to not feeling like I belong
to my volunteer group. From my own experience, of growing up in a mainly ethnic
minority school, having a white middle class teacher telling us their success
stories, was hard to relate to, as they were not like me. So when I speak to these
young people, who are not like me or haven’t had the same opportunities as me, I
feel like they too; cannot relate. Which makes me feel like I cannot fully engage;
as I don’t belong.

From this challenge, I have realised I need to be more reflective
on myself and less sensitive.  I need to
learn that everyone is complex, including myself and the young people I work
with, so I need to give myself time to digest things by being more proud of my
achievements even when they’re small, sharing this with others and by being
supportive of myself during the learning process. 

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