Identity and Belonging

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PROMPT: What could be the advantages/benefits of belonging to a group or groups or to a community?

The advantages of belonging to a group or groups can have a lot of advantages and benefits. Being apart of a group(s) we are able to see who we want to be and do rather then who we try to be and to fit in. There’s always a group that can be influential, good or bad. The shaping of our identity is aided by various influences in our lives, one of them being the groups to which we belong. “Who am I?” is a question often repeated by teenagers, though they may not voice it out loud or use precisely those words. One of the biggest challenges that adolescents face during the shift between childhood and adulthood is this struggle with their own sense of identity.

There are different types of groups which we may find ourselves associated with, such as social, religious and cultural groups. Belonging to any one of these groups may be either by choice or a sense of obligation. For instance, the decision to belong to a certain social group is entirely dependent on our own free will, whereas being a part of a cultural group is not necessarily something we have control over, as people are generally born into a specific culture which may be difficult to depart from. People typically choose to involve themselves in a group in order to feel accepted and to attain a sense of security. The feeling of acceptance provides our self-esteem with a huge boost, which generally results in a more confident and self-assured attitude. This can be an advantage to someone who wants to belong and find their identities, but it can also be a disadvantage. The groups we reject tell us as much about ourselves as those to which we choose to belong.
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