Identity & Belonging

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We gain more from belonging to a group than we lose
Everyone needs to belong to a certain group as it helps to develop a sense of “us” and “them” that helps to define who and what we are. The interaction between people within the group makes us to feel acceptance, satisfaction and recognition of our own personal values. However, as the fear of rejection and disparity are often associated, sometimes we must sacrifice in order to belong. This may result of a trapped individuality and we behave in a different way that is contrary to our “true selves”. The paradox of belonging hence makes both positive and negative impacts on our selves. In order to define our identities, one must find a balance to live between these two.

In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it outlines the importance for an individual to belong. In starts with the basic human physiological needs such as shelter, food and water resources. Then the needs of safety and security, and follow after that is the need to belong, be loved, connected and accepted by others. For this reason, the sense of belonging established since the existence of human being, where human hunted and lived in groups. By working together, it made hunting more successful and avoided the potential danger of predators. Even in now day’s society, we still feel the needs to belong and to fit into a group. When I came to Australia from a foreign country, where the cultural background is utterly different, I felt the strong urge to make friends so I can become a part of their groups. When I discovered that I could not fit into the “white group”, I turned to become friends with some of the Chinese oversea students, where I was able to talk and felt comfortable with because I am also Chinese. Even now, most of my friends are Asian and my best friends are all Chinese. Therefore, individuals are who they are because of the group they belong to. Apart from that, groups are generally not found but made. It does not occur naturally,...
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