What are the benefits and drawbacks of being in a community?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The benefit of being in a community is that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.  The major drawback is that your freedom is somewhat curtailed by the expectations of the community.

People like belong to groups.  We are social animals and we tend to be happiest when we feel that we are not alone.  When we belong to a community, we automatically have an in group.  We have people who, we feel, accept us and care about us.  This is a very important feeling for human beings to have.  It prevents us from feeling lonely, unwanted, and unimportant.  These positive feelings that we derive from belonging to a community are the most important benefit of such membership.

However, this benefit does not come without a cost.  When we belong to a community, we also have responsibilities to that community.  These responsibilities limit our freedom to do what we want at all times.  For example, when we are part of a family, we need to do things like washing the dishes and taking out the trash.  When we belong to a church, we may have to donate our time and money.  We may have to eschew certain behaviors that we would like to engage in but which are frowned upon by our church.  We have to do things that help the group even if they are not things that we would wish to do.

Thus, membership in a community benefits us psychologically and emotionally, but it also requires us, at times, to limit our own freedom so as to do things that the community wants us to do. 

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