Essay on Identity and Belonging

Words: 1089
Pages: 5


‘Knowing where you belong is essential to our sense of identity’

The quest for personal discovery is a journey which every individual must undergo. The development of a sense of self is one of the greatest achievements one can derive from life. Identity is made up of a constellation of characteristics, none more essential than the sense of belonging we feel with others. Humans by nature are social creatures and as such, we all have an instinctual desire for acceptance and community. This is part of the human condition. However, belonging is also dependent on our own sense of identity. Where we belong will often be determined by who we are which is why what we truly search for is a delicate equilibrium between
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“I’m no Amishman and I’m no farmer! I’m a cop.” To be Amish his morals would have to change. John Book knows that he can not belong there which is why he goes back to the city at the end of the film. Witness depicts belonging as an essential part of identity.
Our sense of belonging is key to our quest of personal discovery. A substantial part of who we are is derived from our social environment. From birth we are placed into a set of existing social arrangements, which carry expectations of how we should behave. This ‘social structure’ acts as a constraint on those who are a part of it, even though they might not be aware of it. We are born into a world that provides standards and guidelines on how we should live and what is acceptable. Of course, as we are conditioned to live our lives according to the values of the community we grow up in, it is not difficult to abide by these rules. Its easy to see how we would simply not fit into a society thats values, morals and beliefs were different from our own. To possibly adapt to the order in which this society would live, we would need to change our identity, thus creating a false sense of belonging.
We must constantly grow and adapt with changes in society if we are to belong. Australian poet Bruce Dawe demonstrates how belonging is dependent on our sense of self in his poem ‘Flashing of Badges’. The ‘dead beat’ described in this poem is no longer a valued member