Gone are the days when life used to run smoothly, little were our needs and every individual had enough time to take care of himself and focus on his development. Now, as we all know, we are living in the era of scientific revolution and materialistic progress of the world is going by leaps and bounds. The world is progressing quickly and to keep pace with this progressive change every individual has to keep himself busy in his daily schedule. When we look around, we find everyone busy and most people have hardly any leisure time to focus on themselves. In this hustle and bustle, almost every individual has lost his own existence. Hardly few people take heed of their existence and pay attention to themselves. It can not be denied that everyone among us is a social animal and we become an inseparable part of our society after our birth. Separating ourselves from our society is absolutely an absurd idea. So while living in a society, we have some duties unto our society ( towards our family, friends, relatives, neighbours etc.) which inflates our responsibilities. But in no way it means that we should ignore our existence and defocus on our personal development. Our intellect hints that it is an oceanic blunder. Our existence demands balance of our thoughts and equipoise in our affairs and motives . We need to take consideration of our actions and set limits for our all activities, so that they may not trammel our personal development.
Walker Percy, an American author has written an important mock self-help book ‘ Lost in the Cosmos’ which was published in 1983. In this book Walker Percy states that we are all essentially unstable and looking for something to make us feel whole and balanced. We are looking for something to remind us that we are here, in the universe, and that our individual personality matters. The main theme or central idea of this book is that since ancient times man has never given importance to his existence. We spend our entire life for others. In other words, we are always afraid of the opinions of other people. We are afraid about people’s thoughts regarding our activities and we have a big concern whether we are righteous in other people’s opinions instead of taking care about our own existence. We become villains of ourselves while trying to be heroes for others. Ironically, we remain unaware about the fact that we are destroying our own existence while taking care of others’ opinions.
Now a question arises why are we usually unconcerned about our own existence? Is it natural or our existence has no significance for us? While overviewing our daily life routine we find that we are least concerned with many of our personal matters regarding our existence which demand our much attention. It is a harsh reality that besides being unconcerned, we altogether ignore our own existence. We often overlook our own existence in many social and economic issues. We put the significance of our existence in the back seat while choosing our priorities and ultimately we lose our own existence while giving preference to others. Walker Persey has beautifully discussed these points in his book and stated that ignoring our own existence is in no way beneficial for us.
Since his existence on planet earth, man has lived a life which has never been completely his own. He has always remained divided between his family, friends, colleagues and relatives. Despite his utmost attempts, he has never been absolutely his own. The burden of his responsibilities have never given him a chance to spend some lonely moments with himself; to think about himself and to give priorities to his own needs while de-escalating the burden of his responsibilities. But we should not forget that life is actually all about equipoise : a balance between our own existential needs and our responsibilities and duties unto our society. Neither we can live in isolation by segregating ourselves from our societies nor should we forget our own existence under the burden of our responsibilities. Both ways are harmful and have negative effects on us.
Our life becomes purposeful and beautiful when we discern and perceive all our affairs judiciously and maintain a balance in it by paying heed to our own existence and pamper others. Many people among us remain segregated from their societies and they remain confined only with their families. Over obsession of economic affairs over social affairs in our lives brings imbalance in it. Though it can’t be denied that we have to give preference and priority to our families at many times and sometimes we have to completely submit ourselves for their service but by no means we should ignore the rest of the things. Speaking more precisely, we can live our lives at different levels. Firstly, we can live solely for ourselves without caring for others. All our actions will be self centred and it will ultimately lead to egotism. Secondly instead of being heedful for ourselves, we can exclusively spend our lives for our family and relatives. Thirdly, sacrificing ourselves fir the service of our society. But the best way to live is to maintain a balance between these three levels withoutprioritizing one over another as overlooking any of the above mentioned three levels may lead to negative results. According to psychologists nobody in the world can live a sound life either by completely ignoring his existence or by detaching himself from society. Life is all about balance, temperance and moderation but unfortunately most of us live in extreme zones and ultimately this imbalance destroys our existence. Neither we should completely ignore our existence nor we should totally be self centred. Rather we should maintain a balance in all the spheres of life. Besides social responsibilities, we all have some duties towards our own existence. Unless and until we fulfil these duties comprehensively, we can’t serve our society in a good way because getting acquainted with our own selves is first step towards serving others.
While writing the above paragraphs on the necessity of paying attention towards our own existence and its importance, I never meant that we should totally be self centred or egoistic, rather we should try to maintain a balance in our lives. As we all know that serving humanity is the best virtue and among best deeds. Life spend totally for oneself is a waste and of no value. But Almighty has also guided us to fulfil all duties towards our own existence besides fulfilling duties towards others. So maintaining a balance between these duties without ignoring either will ultimately lead to a successful life. As Diane Von Furstenberg has rightly said,
“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself”
(The author can be reached at [email protected])