positive path toward inner peacemaking - has somehow identified or named a personal
site of contention. In taking this step, the individual has effectively chosen to reshape her
identity, from victim to empowered individual, regardless of how long and arduous the
process. I argue that the activity of reshaping or recreating one’s identity, from a basis of
personal empowerment, nourishes the sense of worthiness necessary to building a
foundation of inner peace. While I am not proposing that the teacher can teach her
students the “how-to’s” of identity shaping from victimhood to self-empowerment in
this present context I am suggesting that she can create a learning environment in which
students are encouraged and guided to both introspect and share their ideas,
understandings, and feelings with others by emphasizing those Sartrean tenets of
individual freedom, personal subjectivity, choice, action, and responsibility. In this way,
students would experience a sense of validation as unique individuals and independent
thinkers, provided with opportunities to achieve increasing awareness of their own self-
empowering possibilities.
Maalouf (2000) is particularly concerned with individual identity formation as it
relates to group affiliations associated with religious and national loyalties. He reminds
us that these particular identities are acquired through family and cultural upbringing,
further reinforced by influential others present throughout the life of the individual. The
point is that, as children and teens, our identities are inordinately subject to the ways in
which we are taught to think about ourselves, our values, and the lifestyles to which we
have become accustomed. It is almost as if it is inevitable that we must experience
wounding in order to reclaim our own capacities for shaping our identities, defining our
values, and choosing our life projects. If this is the case for most people, then it is clear to
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