Without more than to others; filling his glass
Without close and supportive relationships, we can often feel isolated.
The feeling of isolation can directly detach an individual from the winsome pursuit of individual identity. The absence of support from family and friends inhibits the qualities of human compassion that a person would strive to possess. Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” depicts that after psychological and safety needs are satisfied, the need for belonging must be evident in order for individual identity to be acquired.Our identity constitutes of a shifting phase of learning about self belonging, but we can only successfully obtain this through ongoing supportive relationships with others.
The relationships formed with family members primarily determine who we become. We construct our sense of self from an early age through the relationship we form with our family. From young, we are encouraged to follow our cultural and family values from our parents. We are exposed to their various ideas, characteristics and knowledge allowing us to develop important human qualities we should uphold in society.They set examples for us to follow and we subconsciously adapt to share similar lifestyles and ideals. We are taught through our family to accept roles and responsibilities while belonging to a group. Often, individuals who are raised in these societies do not have a choice as to whom they become as a person.
This can have detrimental effects to a person’s individual identity leading their innate feelings to be suppressed in order to conform to the expectations to the group they belong to.This is clearly explicated in Peter Weir’s acclaimed film Witness where Rachel, an Amish woman ultimately conforms to the expectations of others, and in doing so, forgoes her love for John Book, a city policeman. During the barn raising scene, Rachel openly defies the expectations of Eli and her community by talking to John Book more than to others; filling his glass first. She is sending a message that she would not constrain her behaviour to meet her society’s expectations. However, Rachel’s behaviour is doing damage to her reputation as her society is having “uncharitable thoughts” about her behaviour to John Book.
Rachel realises that to act upon her love to Book will leave her open to being shunned by her family members. A possibility that would leave her isolated without the close and supportive support that her society could give. Ultimately, she realises that the sacrifices caused by her love with Book would be too great. Thus, it can be seen that the relationships we form leads us to have a sense of belonging and will prevent us from feeling isolated, even if our personal identity is to be sacrificed. Rachel might have realised that her love would lead to too many sacrifices; however in real life, not everyone makes such wise decisions.In fact, there are many examples in today’s society who chooses to reject the relationships they form with through their upbringing, leading to self destructive behaviour and a feeling of being isolated.
This may be due to a difficult upbringing by their family or even having a difficult relationship with their peers at school. Often these difficulties will lead to their relationship with their families being damaged and hence having no sense of belonging. These people often have difficulty developing an individual identity. As a result, these individuals often feel isolated and depressed and in some circumstances; suicide.This is clearly shown in Alice Pung’s “Growing up Asian in Australia”, a collection of short stories from Asian immigrants living in Australia. In her story, “the courage of soldiers”, Pauline Nguyen explains how her father, a Vietnamese immigrant, wanted desperately to raise his children as high achievers.
As a result, he assumed complete control over their lives, imposing strict Vietnamese values and expecting nothing less than very high grades at school. Pauline relates how at report time, her father would cane his children once for every “B” and twice for every “C” casually throwing them a dollar for every “A”.He never attempted to know or understand his children or develop a meaningful relationship with them. As a result, Pauline ran away from home and went into hiding from her father. She was subsequently unable to enjoy a sense of belonging and lost a large part of her family identity resulting in feeling isolated and unwanted.
Thus, it can be seen that a close and supportive relationship with our family is imperative for us to develop a sense of belong so we do not feel isolated from society. If we are rejected and excluded from a family or friendship environment, we will feel detached disallowing the advancement of our self esteem.If someone were to reject the affection and unconditional love they receive from their family and friends, they would struggle to appreciate themselves and would most likely feel isolated from society. Family and friends are of ultimate importance to guide us through the task of growing up since they assist us in seeking out our true identity. Thus, it can be seen that the relationships formed with our close family and friends ultimately allows us to feel accepted and not isolated from our society.