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Identities and Belonging Essay

As social animals, human beings have a need to belong. Human beings need the stimulus of other human beings to reach their full potential. One’s identity is formed and influenced by the groups one belongs to. Humans are by nature sociable beings that must learn to cooperate for peaceful existence to occur but are also individual personalities who seek their own self fulfilment. Belonging to groups; family, social or environmental groups, can have immeasurable benefits. But while groups do provide one with a sense of identity, security and protection it can however result in sacrifices to selfhood and can entail certain inevitable costs.

Groups tend to be self policing and apply criteria for membership and not everyone can fit that criteria. In order to belong, it is necessary to possess certain characteristics, and those that do not have these characteristics, are apt to be excluded. So great is the human desire for acceptance and inclusion, however that the individual may well absorb many costs in their efforts to meet the standards that is asked of them. Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives are mimicry, and their passions are quotations.

When we were born, our thought is just like a white piece of paper. During the time we grow up, our relationships and behaviours with others shape our way of thinking and our thought of life. In the text “ five ways to disappoint your Vietnamese mother “ Diana Nguyen ,talks about her negative relationship with her mother and how she managed to disappoint her because she wanted to follow her dreams. Diana never felt like she belonged somewhere until the day she could actually perform. * I don’t know what else I should say here* Who am I and where do I belong?

These are questions we may ask ourselves on a daily basis. As you may know I was born in Greece , and I moved to Australia 1,5 years ago. I wasn’t really thrilled about it but I had no choice. I had to leave my country and go to a completely new and different place. I had to sacrifice my language so I can belong here. When I stepped into the plane to leave , the only thing that went through my head is that I had to redefine myself again , show people how I really am and try to make new friendships from the start. I remember my dad saying to me “ you don’t ave to worry, this is a new start , a new life. You can be a new you ! no one knows you so you can present yourself the way you want ! ” But really who was I? who am I? For the past 17 years I was Doris , a girl that wasn’t always a great student but the greatest female rower on my age group . I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be able to follow my passion here , to row . I had to stay home ,study and try to fit in! Fitting was the hardest thing to do – it still is- the first day of school it was like year 1 all over again , new people everywhere , everyone had their own groups and then it was me .

Different groups have expectations that force you to sacrifice aspects of your identity. Positive and negative aspects. Also sacrificing parts of your culture so you could be “one of them”. One of the post positive and impressive things that happened to me was that in Australia , I had time to experience different greek traditions that I never did in greece ! Greek people in Melbourne try harder to keep their greek identity and culture. In Greece on the other hand we never try , we know who we are and that we will always be Greeks .

We might not celebrate GreeK Easter as they do here but we know the actual meaning of it and we respect it without going to the extreme. However ,I might miss my country but I learnt a lot of stuff this past year and I can’t wait to learn more. After fitting in and finding where I belong I family found some spear time to continue what I love more , rowing. So that’s me I am just a Greek girl , who is a different person in Australia and a another one back in Greece.


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