Our sense of identity can never be constant
Identity and belonging are inter-related; they go like peas in a pod. The groups we choose to belong to and the ways we connect with others help to form our own identity. Together, these issues go to the heart of who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. One human quality that we all share, despite our individual identities, is the need to belong. It is a paradox that we long to be free, to be who we truly are and yet we yearn to belong to some kind of community. There is no real obligation to belong to one group, you can belong to many, that is, an individual is not bound or obliged to belong to one group, they can belong to many which can create multiple identities for the individual, thus our sense of identity can never be constant. Belonging to a loving family, group of supportive friends and/or peers nurture us and help us to develop our own sense of self. However, the cost of belonging can be substantial. Families, for example, may have expectations of us that conflict with our own ambitions. Groups may demand unquestioning obedience and conformity. It is painful to be an outsider but there is often a price to pay for belonging. It can be difficult to balance these conflicting impulses, to be both independently ourselves and to belong to a wider community.
Identity is who we are and what our beliefs and values are. Our identity helps others to know more about us, helps them to perceive us as an individual rather than judging us on the basis of the groups that we belong to or the people we interact with. In spite of this, Belonging to a group requires various forms of change in a person’s identity, which in turn leave the individual with multiple or inconsistent identities. We realize that if it had not been for the existence of the people who are around us, we probably would have not turned out the way we are. Friends and peers have a positive or negative influence. We tend to hide a part of ourselves in order to belong in a certain groups and the fear of rejection. When peers have a negative influence on us, we can suppress our true self in order to belong which can lead us lose our sense of belonging and condone our morals, beliefs and values. In the Novel “The Member of The Wedding”, it is evident to the reader that the protagonist Frankie Adams struggles with her identity. Frankie is rejected by her peers due to her personality and character. “She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world”. Frankie had to sacrifice her identity. In order to fulfil her objectives and desires to be part of something and fit in she undertakes an identity change, not only in her appearance, ethics and morals but her name as well. All these sacrifices are done in order to belong and become a part of her brother’s wedding. Belonging to a group involves sacrifice in one’s identity, or it may leave the individual with a sense of rejection. The narrator shows us that in order to belong; our individual sense of identity can never be the permanent.
Belonging to a group can provide a sense of being one part of a larger whole, and sharing this belief with other group members can be very satisfying. There is an innate need in our hearts to identify with a group, both for protection and for security, to discover and affirm our identity, and to use the group to prove our worthiness and goodness, indeed even to prove that we are better than others. The paradox of belonging is that we gain a sense of self through our interaction with others. Groups and communities can provide security, support and acceptance. Human beings are not, by nature, solitary creatures. Contributing to the social fabric can enhance our self-esteem and self-worth. A sense of identity is closely connected to belonging to something other than ourselves. We belong to families and to other groups, including racial, religious or cultural groups. We may also belong to a group of peers connected...
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