Before Individuals Can Truly Belong, They Must Engage in Self-Reflection

Before individuals can truly belong, they must engage in self-reflection
An individual’s sense of belonging is fundamentally dependent on their own willingness to form connections with others. In this light, self-reflection doesn’t necessarily result in a genuine sense of belonging, since it is an individual’s variable attitudes to the worth of belonging that determines their relationships with others. This is seen in Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It, where Jaques is able to reflect on his own values in life, recognising they are different to others. However, his stubborn belief in the futility of belonging prevents him from establishing affiliations with others. This melancholic attitude is similarly explored in the poem, “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver who explores the notion of individuals continuously reflecting on broken relationships and as a result become further disconnected from society. Nevertheless, Shakespeare also investigates how self-reflection can allow individuals to recognise their flaws and when in conjunction with a desire to form connections, will attain a genuine sense of belonging. This parallels with Oliver’s poem which also shows that when an individual accepts and confronts broken relationships with an optimistic attitude, an enriching affinity in other relationships may be achieved. Ultimately, when studied together, these texts show that despite self-reflection being essential for individuals to gain a sense of true belonging, it is their willingness and perception of the value of belonging that determines if they genuinely belong.
In Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It, Jaques chooses to reject relationships, priding himself on being independent from the human race. This is revealed in his personal reflection, “I have neither the scholar's melancholy...nor the musician's...nor the courtier's...nor the soldier's...nor the lawyer's...nor the lady's... nor the lover's/but it is a melancholy of mine own”. Here, the use of accumulation of...