Our mental health is strongly tied to our feelings about ourselves. How we define ourselves can be quite complex. Part of our identity is associated with the context in which we see ourselves. Some of us may find strength in a strong group identity. There may also be comfort there. The size and composition of the group will undoubtedly impact the level of integration we feel as a member of the group, as well as our ability to recognize our individuality.
As a practitioner of Health, a person’s well-being is a primary objective of mine. One of my personal considerations in regard to the dispensing of care, is to ensure that a person gains as positive a self-image that they can. I try to be sensitive to what shapes that person’s sense of who they are, and when possible, reinforce those elements which lead to optimum health.
A common contributor to our identity is our social habitat, the people with whom we interact. There are multiple sets of these groups of people, some defined by the very nature of our species and how we historically came to collectively inhabit our Earth. There are more and less intimate groups. There are more personal and more casual ways in which we interact with members of various groups. Our membership within a group will be influenced by where we find ourselves, our intention regarding our habitation and, in some cases, how a group itself came to be.
As I sit here in my own home, I am aware that I am a son and brother, a husband and father. I am a resident of the City of DeLand, the County of Volusia and the State of Florida. I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am a citizen of the World. I am, because of the power of Creation, a son and brother; because of personal choice, a husband and father. My residency and citizenship are affected by personal choice, but the entities to which they are connected were determined by others.
Boarders and boundaries are arbitrary. Throughout history they have changed. Interestingly enough, once we find ourselves within them, we often find ways to feel a part of the lives of those we find in there along with us. Partially, we often were a group before the boarders surrounded us, and our connection comes from that. But, here in America, it is not uncommon for new members to feel a part of something that is inherent in the formation of this collective body of beings living as one Nation.
I have been present while immigrants who were born within other boarders and are now living within the boundaries of the United States of America, and intend to continue doing so, remark of the great fortune it is for them to have this opportunity. Our Nation was founded by foreign persons who migrated from distant shores. The determination to survive here was great. There were those seeking to expand their opportunities, others a new start. There are points in time, from throughout the World, when various groups of people, as a result of many different events, have moved to other parts of the World. The United States of America is one of them and seems to carry an aura of Hope to those in need of refuge and renewal.
I cannot say what drove the “First People” to this side of the World, but the waves of the “Old World” people have better documented historical trajectories. What we have become is a multi-ethnic society. Which, by necessity, requires common ground rules that can allow us to co-exist cooperatively and peacefully. Our Nation has a reputation for providing equal opportunity and the ability to rise above our differences.
As citizens we can take pride in this Nation to which we contribute. We can recognize our ability to communicate clearly and effectively, listen completely and considerately and act decisively and harmlessly. I feel fortunate to be an American. I am proud of who we are. I am also aware that it takes tolerance toward the discord that can be so easily propagated, to keep the Light of Hope and the Dignity of Humanity alive. Let us rejoice in America the Beautiful and be just that.