Sunday, October 26, 2008

Personal Space

I'm going to break from the norm for a rant that I feel is pretty important. Well, at least it is to me.

Let me start with a little preface though. See, when I was young - especially when I was a teenager - I was acutely conscious of my size. I think a lot of that has to do with being a girl in our society. I believe it is this awareness of my size that has shaped my consciousness of my space. The space that I take up, not the space that others might invade. I'm talking about the space that I may inadvertently invade.

I have decided that not enough people in the world are aware of the space they use. Sadly, most of that realization has come when people take up MY space.

Example: In the grocery store, how many people go down the aisle and park their cart right smack dab in the middle, not seeming to notice that there are other people who need to use the aisle too? How many of us do that? I can say honestly that I don't.

I do have to admit that when Brent does it, it's probably because of Brent's past as much as it is because of mine. Brent was so skinny while growing up that he never had to worry about his size. He never cared. He does take up space now, but it's not too much. He just doesn't notice that the amount of space he takes up now is more than what he took up as a stick-thin teenager.

Example: On the road. How many of us accidentally cut people off? How many of us merge way too slowly for the rest of the travelers to be comfortable? How many of us talk on our cell phones while turning and thus neglect using the turn signal?

Here's the thing. There's a scripture that tells me we have responsibility for our actions and for the actions of others: Mosiah 4:28. "And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also."

In other words, our careless actions can cause anger (sin) in others. I think careless actions can be anything: borrowing something and not returning it, getting in the way of others when we could be watching our space, maybe even being lazy when others are counting on us.

So, why does it seem that so many people are completely clueless about how their actions affect those around them? Or how their space can invade that of others? Yes, it's still our (the invaded) responsibility to control our reactions. But when we (the invaders) have the power to affect the outcome, why wouldn't we want to affect it for our benefit? For everyone's benefit?

This is similar to common sense. But I would coin a new phrase for it: common consideration. It's a lot like the golden rule. It's treating people with common courtesy and respect, thinking about their feelings and needs, and acting accordingly.

Isn't it time we all strive for that standard of behavior?


Kristin said...

Aaagh, you strike a chord with me. Yesteday as we arrived to movies 8 we found a perfect spot, accept the lady in the spot next to it sat in the front seat with the door hanging wide open as she ate. Her kids did the same thing with their back door. This is fine until someone wants to pull in beside you. She looked at us and did NOTHING! We all know how crazy that parking can be in that parking lot. I wish we could have just pulled in and taken her doors with us. We just found another spot though as civilized people do. ARRRGH!

Becca said...

Where'dyou come up with that idea?
I never thought it was really that important...

Dirtius Wifius said...

The rant always comes up when something like the parking happens with me. I would have pulled in anyway, just because I'm that annoyed with people who are inconsiderate.

Anonymous said...

Well, then you might be making others think you are inconsiderate too.

I don't get why this is on your blog?... (I agree completely)

- eth

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the merging too slowly thing. I'm used to be pretty considerate of people who were merging and would leave a huge opening for them. But when they don't even seem to notice that you have already slowed WAAAAAYY down for them and they make you slow down even further, it's maddening. My new attitude for letting people merge is, "Get behind me if you want in."

Also, it drives me nuts at the movie theater when people arrive and sit right behind me when the theater is almost empty. At the last movie we saw, we were one of three couples in the theater when the movie started. A whole gaggle of women came in late and sat right behind us and then talked the whole time. Give me at least one row buffer.