The study of any national culture is carried out through its mentality. The national mentality is a set of stable spiritual values, habits, stereotypes of behavior, way of thinking and symbols, which are typical for a particular nation. For centuries, Ukrainian people have created and improved certain moral and ethical standards of their life. They were closely connected with the world view of the Ukrainians, reflected on their way of life, character traits. To understand what the Ukrainian mentality is, we need to get back to basics, to find out how it was formed.
The formation of the Ukrainian national mentality was influenced by a number of historical, social, cultural and natural factors:
- Natural and climatic conditions. As for Ukraine, the nature here is quite generous. Mild climate, fertile land, rich natural resources – all these factors were a good background for the development of the Ukrainian ethnos. Such conditions laid the foundation for such qualities as love of freedom, spontaneity, emotionality and healthy individualism. However, the same nature softened the character of Ukrainians. It is known that unfavorable natural and geographical conditions stimulate the development of activity, and favorable conditions discourage and cause social passivity.
- Historical and cultural. Geopolitical position of Ukrainian lands (their location between the West and the East), also with strong influence of the two main historical periods of traditional-domestic culture (agricultural and Cossack) determinate two types of behavior:
- Cossack-adventurer (extrovert), focused on fighting against enemies, defending faith and borders, entertainments.
- «Hidden existence» (introvert), characterized by the need to hide and protect their domestic peace from the aggressors.
- Social. In addition, Ukrainian mentality was negatively affected by the lack of consolidation between the social elite and the social underclass. This situation did not contribute to the creation of common goals.
There is no exact formula of Ukrainian mentality – historians and researchers are not of the same mind with its definition. But still, there are common traces: Ukrainians are born with individualism, religiosity, cunning, emotionality, tolerance and other traits.
Ukrainian individualism can be described as a self-realization within the sphere of individual world, which was created by own efforts. The Ukrainian protects himself and his individual world from peripheral distractions, but at the same time, he is always open and considerate to other people, he is not indifferent to other people’s problems.
The statistics also shows how important the personal world and its welfare are for Ukrainians. As part of the survey, which was conducted a couple of years ago in Ukraine, respondents were asked to indicate the attributes of a person’s life success. With that, respondents could choose several answers from the proposed list. The following results went forth:
- material welfare (named by about 74% of respondents);
- having a family, children (60%);
- good relations and mutual understanding in the family (50%);
- good physical shape, good health (47%);
- love, the presence of a beloved person (38%);
- good friends (35.0%).
Therefore, signs of well-being, which are directly related to private life, are priorities.
Philosophy of heart
The next characteristic of the Ukrainian mentality is emotionality, sensitivity, which prevails over rationality. There is such an expression «I think with my heart». It is 100% about Ukraine and Ukrainians. Ukrainians are emotional, kind, responsive and quick to respond. At the same time, which is logical for “thinking with heart”, they are inconsistent.
The religiosity of Ukrainians and the religiosity of other nations have a fundamental difference. In religious life, the Ukrainian professes moral feelings, seeks inner conversation with God, tries to behold the depth of faith, to understand its essence. Colorable piety, formalism of rituals, philosophizing on the topic of faith are not typical for Ukrainians.
Historically, Ukrainians easily recognize the right of people to be different; they respect others and come out for equality. Ukrainians are absolutely non-aggressive people, accept strangers, as long as their guests accept and honor their faith and benefit society.
The most cunning fox
If the rooster is a national animal for the French people, Russians have a bear, Americans have their bald eagle and English are proud of their bulldog, then the animal, which represents Ukrainians, is a fox. It has many foxholes, so if the hunter gets inside, it will always find where to get out. No one says that being cunning is bad. Inventive power and ability to get out of any situation requires talent, courage and self-assertion. For these qualities you need to be the Ukrainian.