7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life
How often do you run from here to there, and back, checking the clock on the wall, in the kitchen, on your wrist, or on your phone? Yep, normal, we all do it, or, rather, have done it.
Time is such an important part of our life. We construct our whole lives, in fact, around it. Yep. Time. When we get up, when we eat, when we work, how we work, when we sleep. All of it.
Yet, time also provides people with tons of stress and anxiety. Really. How often have you said, or heard, or both, there’s just not enough time in the day? Yep. We’ve all said it, say it, and have heard many, or, rather, most people say it.
Phew. It’s tiring. Really.
I remember a time in my life where I was more concerned about what time it was, then about what I was doing with my time. Maybe you can relate?
Either way, time is not what we think it is.
Time is actually socially constructed. Meaning, it doesn’t even really exist, except for that we create it, agree upon it, and as has been aforementioned, organize our lives around it.
A social construction, you ask? Sure. Here you go.
Pronunciation /ˌsəʊʃl ˈkɒnstrʌkt/
A concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained within a society or social group; a social phenomenon or convention originating within and cultivated by society or a particular social group, as opposed to existing inherently or naturally.
A social construction is something that is constructed and agreed upon by a group of people, of which time, as in the continued progress of existence and events as in the past, present, and future, is one. Phew.
You may now ask, well, there is a past, present, and future, therefore time exists. Yet, I would invite you to really think about that. Does the past really exist, or the future for that matter?
Think about what you are doing right now. Does the past exist in the present moment? Does the future? Nope. They don’t.
The only thing that ever really exists is the present moment. Right now; and, then right now, and now. That’s it.
Therefore time is in many ways irrelevant, an illusion actually. Yet, we continue to create our whole lives around it. Pretty powerful.
You may now be saying. Okay. Fine. Yet, why is understanding time as a social construction important? Very well.
Let’s take a look at
7 Reasons Why Understanding Time as A Social Construction is Important to Your Life
1. Increased Flexibility
When we hold time as a social construct, we are more flexible because we understand that there is an infinite amount of time to do all that we’d like to do. Really.
We become more flexible as we continue to consider time as something that we can choose to release ourselves from. We know at a different level that, yes, we need to move our work and lives forward, however, we also know that there is plenty of time to do so.
2. Less Stress
As we become more flexible, holding the awareness that time is socially constructed, which takes practice, we then realize that we can release the stress that we create about time-bound situations and events. Yep.
We can release that stress, and replace it with a renewed interest in being present. Present to everything in our lives, in each and every moment. Precious.
3. Reduced Anxiety
Holding time within ourselves differently, which creates less stress, also reduces our overall anxiety levels. There are so many people on this planet that have high levels of anxiety.
Yes, about lots of things, yet, considering time as one of the most important aspects of our lives causes a ton of that stress and, yep, related anxiety.
Yet, releasing that time-bound stress, releases the anxiety. Very helpful.
4. Greater Understanding
We also learn more about ourselves, and then have a greater understanding of, yes, ourselves, and about all people. We can connect with people on another level entirely. Why?
Because, we have connected to ourselves on an entirely different level. It works that way. We become more aware of our time-bound habits, and then can see them more clearly in ourselves and in others. Helpful.
5. More Grace
As we are more aware of our own behaviors related to time, and practice releasing the stress and anxiety that develops as a product of time-bound thinking, we can give ourselves more grace. And?
We can also extend that grace to others. If there is one thing on this planet we can all us more of, it’s grace. Given to ourselves and to each other. Important.
6. Deeper Compassion
Along with granting ourselves more grace, we also develop a deeper level of compassion for the human condition. Most all of us are socialized to place importance on time.
With that knowledge, we can release ourselves from any blame or shame for the stress we’ve caused ourselves and others at the expense of time-bound thinking and acting.
And, as we deepen the compassion we have for ourselves, we also deepen the compassion we can extend toward others. Lovely.
7. More Peace
With our practice of holding time differently in our awareness, we also have more peace. More peace about all aspects of our lives that we once associated with time-bound situations and events, and the associated outcomes, or results.
And, when we have more peace, we can also extend that peace out to everyone. Phew. That is important.
Alright, there are 7 Reasons Why Considering Time as a Social Construction is Important to Your Life. Fun.
Remember, time is only important, when we create that importance. I’m not saying that we don’t take our commitments and agreements that are time-bound seriously.
Those time-bound commitments and agreements are very important. My days are full of them; and, I mean full. All day, every day.
Yet, we don’t have to associate time-bound commitments and agreements with a stressful conception of time. It’s a paradox, like most things in life.
You can both hold time as a socially constructed illusion and as an important aspect of your life in regard to meeting our commitments and agreements.
It is really in between the two, considering ourselves as bound in time and not, where you have the power to live, laugh, and love with less stress and anxiety, and way more flexibility, understanding, grace, compassion, and peace.
This week, I’ve been reflecting upon grace and humility. I am thinking about grace as in goodwill towards others, and humility as in being humble. I do believe that the need for grace and humility are now more important than ever. And yet, I find myself also thinking that larger doses of both grace and humility would be beneficial for society regardless.
We live in a fast-paced society, where the expectation to do more is always present. And the expectation to do more, has a corresponding quality, which is to want more, and or feel we need more.
All three of which, the expectation to do more, want more, and need more, often superseded qualities like grace and humility. For instance, in the hunt for that next promotion, or raise, we might inadvertently run right over a fellow human being, such as a colleague or a peer.
I am in no way suggesting that developing, or creating, the determination necessary to excel in one’s work in order to gain a promotion or pay increase is in some way an issue. It is not. It is, rather, the way we handle ourselves on the way, the journey, to that result that can be an issue.
I’ve written in other posts that humans often get caught up in focusing too much, or even solely, on a result. And, when that result is all we can “see” the tendency to be less present to others in our environment goes up; and, when we are less present to those around us, we are also less present to how we treat them.
Right now, you may be thinking, are they saying that competition is in some way bad? No. Competition is needed and necessary. We are, however, talking about how we compete. We are talking about competing while displaying both grace and humility.
I was telling part of the team I work with today that one of the insights I’ve received from the COVID-19 health crisis is that slowing down is not only necessary, it is needed. Slowing down to take in all that is around us, including those we are in competition with.
As states around the country start to create action plans on reopening, businesses will likewise create their plans on how they are going to reopen. Additionally, these business owners, especially small ones, will consider what other services and or products they should invest in to increase their relevance in a very unknown and unpredictable market.
These business owners will also research their competition to better understand how the particular niche they are creating will fill a need and also be profitable.
As business owners consider their options, I am suggesting that showing each other grace and humility will be an advantageous tool. Grace and humility will ultimately be advantageous as fear of the unknown will continue to be present for everyone.
Sharing with each other, then, the grace and humility that comes with an understanding that we have all been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, positions us all to benefit from each other’s unique perspective and knowledge base.
For sure, some have been more affected by the COVID-19 health crisis than others. Yet all of us have been affected, and will continue to be affected by COVID-19 long after the headlines dwindle to the background, and a sense of “normalcy” begins to return.
At the outset of this post, I stated that grace and humility are qualities that are needed now more than ever, and that overall society could use additional doses of both grace and humility regardless. Grace and humility were needed pre-COVID-19, are needed now during COVID-19, and will also be needed post-COVID-19.
Extending grace and humility to your fellow human being can create a context where competition can thrive in an environment that values each of us as the unique contributors to society that we are.
My invitation to you is to remember that when things are busier than ever, whether that be now, or in the months to come, to slow down, take in all that is around you, and extend grace and humility to your fellow human beings.