We all strive for it, are yearning for it- to find balance in our lives.
We want balance between our work life and personal life, between caring for others and caring for ourselves, between being overwhelmingly busy and mind-numbingly bored… it seems like most of us are endlessly searching for a stable resting place between the inner tug-of-wars we have in life.
So how can you finally get to that place of balance, once and for all?
Short answer: you can’t. I know, because I’ve been looking for a loooong time.
I think every major struggle I’ve had in life comes down to wanting to attain that sense of balance.
Over the 30 years of my existence so far, I’ve been trying to find a happy middle ground between some major internal conflicts… Struggles with self-identity and individualism and so wanting to be seen and heard, while at the same time wanting to be liked and accepted and feeling afraid to express myself and my thoughts. Struggles with being a crazy perfectionist over-achiever endlessly looking for that thing I could accomplish that would finally make me feel worthwhile, while also trying to laugh and love and play and maintain some semblance of a life.
I think, in our minds, we have an idea that balance = totally rocking being a great partner, friend, parent, workerbee, community member, citizen of the world AND self, all at the same time.
“If only I could balance it all!” we cry, feeling guilty for all the loose ends and things left undone. Feeling desirous for all those things in life we still yearn to do, and envious of the people who seem to be out there doing ‘em. Feeling unsatisfied that we’re struggling in one (or more) of these areas in our life so that means we must be failing.
And it’s not our fault, really- this idea that we can be superheros who can juggle all our roles and responsibilities and handle them all in stride, if only we can find the magic balance button, is a myth perpetuated everywhere we look in the media, and one that our societal values have helped us cling to.
We spend so much time hopping from one role to another, just trying to “balance” them all, that we have started to neglect our own instincts and knowledge of what is truly best for us. We become more and more numb just trying to get through daily life, rather than really experiencing it.
We find ourselves always trying to do more, get more, be more, all the while forgetting to stop and appreciate what we already have, and who we already are.
And that’s exactly why we can feel so OFF BALANCE.
But alas! All hope is not lost. While the idea of balance as a sort of pillow of equilibrium we can land upon gently, if only we do everything right, is totally impossible, the feeling of balance that we’re all seeking most certainly does exist- it’s just not where we’ve been told to look for it for much of our lives.
You can find balance, but it only comes from within.
More and more, as I’ve shucked the traditional definition of what balance means, I’ve been able to actually get a taste of it, and darn if it isn’t just as savory, delicious and satisfying as you think it will be. And even better? It’s within your reach at any given moment.
Finding balance comes from making choices that honor your truth.
Simple? Yes. Easy? Heck no.
This means that, just like walking a tightrope (like in one of the movies we mentioned last week!), true balance is ever-shifting and requires constant movement and attention to where your weight is leaning at all times.
Balance is active, and it changes day by day, moment by moment.
Balance is choosing to say “no” to a project that sounds great but you know you have no time for it, or to an event that you really don’t want to go to, or to a favor you really don’t feel comfortable doing.
Balance is choosing to sell all your belongings and live more simply, despite what others may think, because you’re feeling called to do exactly that.
Balance is choosing to neglect the laundry and dishes for a week while you’re burning mega-fire on a creative idea you can’t let go of, and realizing that that’s a-ok.
Balance is finding yourself saying “I need a break, I can’t do this anymore, I hate today, I have too much to do…” and instead of sitting at your desk resentfully slogging through the rest of your to-dos while you daydream for “someday” to come, you instead choose to get up and go for a walk, stretch, dance, or book a freakin’ vacation already!
Balance is choosing to react differently when someone ruffles your feathers or upsets you, or choosing to distance yourself from people in your life who are negative or judgmental towards you.
Balance is choosing to make time for that exercise class because even though it’s super hard to fit into your busy schedule, you choose to make your personal health and wellness a priority in your life.
Balance comes in the moments when you stand up for the life you truly want for yourself, by making choices that align with that.
That often times means choosing the hard road, lonely road or scary road… but balance lies in the act of choosing whichever road is right for YOU.
Balance comes when we show love for ourselves, trust in our own instincts and act from there.
Imbalance comes when we act out of fear, guilt, pressure, persuasion, resentment, anger, self-doubt, envy or any of the myriad of mind-gremlins that can get us.
We all have the answers within us- our truth is right there, at the center of us. When we can begin to listen to that still, small voice within that knows exactly what we need at any given time in order to feel better, happier and whole, then the more choices we’ll begin to make that honor our truth and the person we want to BE in the world.
And the more choices we make that are guided by our truth, the more we get in touch with our center, where true balance lies.
So, you can find balance! It’s not quite as easy as a magical balance button, I know, but just like with anything- you’ll get better and better at it the more you practice.