The Need of Personal Space and Time

Being Asian, the concept of personal time and space is always intertwined with the collective family perspective. One is having time with himself or herself by being with his or her closest significant others. The concept of "me time" is associated with deliberate pampering of oneself, rest or entertainment in an usual Asian point of view, but this is quite opposite of what the Europeans think of the same phenomenon. It is a state of temporarily being detached from the society, for one to literally be with himself or himself. It is a state of being alone, not necessarily being lonely or allowing another to pamper for him or her. It is plainly doing something alone, not thinking of anything outside it.

The difference between this two perspectives of personal time has always perplexed me on what suits well. The calmness of the laid-back European style is grounded on the basic principle of individualism, while the Asian way differs on the same concept by allowing others to do service or entertainment for one's pleasure. In a way, the Asian way is still collective in a way but attached to a subservient thinking. Either way, there is one thing certain, we all need personal space and time.

Doing what oneself desires

Happiness is not merely achieved through fulfilling what others need and want. The fulfillment of helping and being with others would certainly contribute to experiencing happiness, but one should not forget that happiness is more of a personal decision, rather than a result of social participation. Nothing is required to be happy. No one is actually needed to feel happy. It is a feeling primarily felt by one. A person could not do this if he or she is deprived to do what he or she desires to do to enrich oneself or strengthen his or her personality. This is effectively done through the use of personal time. One must not forget that primarily one has an obligation to oneself first before others.

Looking things more objectively

Our feelings are reactions to situations we see, hear and experience. It is therefore a product of our perception of our environment, which primarily consists of people that are either unknown or important for an individual. The same feelings cloud how we think and decide by creating a subjectivity blanket, reducing one's rational capability and objectivity. However, this subjectivity could be controlled by allowing oneself to do an effective self-awareness. This can only be done during one's personal time. Without personal time, one could drown into the sea of feelings and opinions made by others. An individual loses his or her independence and eventually does not make use of his or her will power to do something great and better for oneself and secondarily for the society.

Recognizing the importance of self

This is an obligation most of us forgets. Everyone is busy about things concerning outside himself or herself. One's work, family, religion and activities are always geared towards being with someone doing something. People forget that we also need to be with ourselves to achieve self-actualization. Everyone needs to take pauses to determine whether what we are doing suits more to our personal goals and desires, rather than merely fitting to what is needed in the social environmemt. We work because we live primarily, not to carry the burden of making others live. Others have a life of their own, such that one can not just take over the responsibility of deciding for what is important for them. On the same way, others must not force one to act in opposition to what that individual wants regardless of what reason may it be.

The method of having personal time varies from one person to another. There is actually no general rule or formula on what works best. What we need to understand that human beings are not just social beings, they are also unique rational individuals, capable of thinking for oneself. It may sound selfish and egoistic, but this is a need that everybody needs to achieve. Yes, no man is an island, but a society will never be productive without independent free-minded individuals that compose it.


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