Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life - It's Not About Being Selfish

I've found in my working experience so far working with Asians and Caucasians that, Asians tend to get a burn-out very easily.  It's not about Asians having lower physical stamina but many Asians living in their traditional family set-ups are over-stretched in their lives.

A typical Caucasian embraces their "me time" very well and compartmentalise their lives as effectively.  They know when to get the children out of the way for some time alone or friends to regain themselves. 

Similarly, the working ones take their leaves with great importance to explore places they've not seen to expand their horizons.

Come a typical Asian, the individual has to deal with their own lives, work, their immediate family's and then, the "family in fine prints" - the in-laws.  It's an Asian thing living in an Asian society to feel obligated to share their soul with anybody related in blood or marriage.  A lot of them feel obligated again to make peace in a way that as long as nobody pulls a long face or quarrels, everything is OK.

Yet, many suffer in silence at how others step into their principals, their values and routine.  But to maintain "peace", everything is swallowed then trash out at their loved ones (normally spouses) creating the vicious cycle of turning our loved ones into "emotional trashbins".  In time to come, this surely affects the original loving relationship with them.

Many of our jobs require more of our energy to commit ourselves into it, along with the "traditional" roles we're expected to fulfill as a child to our parents, sibling, in-law, friend, it's little wonder that many Asians feel a sense of helplessness at the end of the day.  And those gossips/complain stories from the clan's grapevine sapping our energy away?  Yes, that too. 

Life now living in this rapidly changing society and economy is all about efficiencies, we have to start valuing the importance of compartmentalising our life and explain carefully to our family that we need emotional rest.  We need to also block out unwanted negative stories within the clan that will take our energy away.  Many elderly Asians are hurt that their children have "changed" since they've started working or married, but totally unaware that challenges now and then are absolutely different.

It's our role as a contemporary Asian so busy in work and Life to explain in the way they can accept (many times if needed)  to the elders of the different times now.  That we still love them dearly but we're unable to be constantly with them for small matters.  It's also equally important to impart the value of sharing work at home with children and spouse so they're involved as a group, and that love, food and toys come from rightful contributions.

Women are not superhumans and we shouldn't aim to be one.  Different individual has different energy level and if we're exhausted almost at the daily basis, change has to come.

The change process for our Asian family network to sponge into is long, tedious and rather daunting many times, something I've learnt early in my life.  But the rewards of being able to feel yourself as a whole and finding your own direction in life again is tremendous.