“I need more balance in my life!” We hear it all the time. That’s because we feel it all the time—that “unbalanced” sensation begging us to slow down and make some drastic changes before we completely burn out!
I sure feel “unbalanced” several times a year (especially December and May!), and it’s a topic that comes up in my office all the time; so it’s safe to say, I’ve learned a thing or two about “balance”. But you might not like what I have to say, because what I have to say about balance is this: “Most of us have got it all wrong!”
Achiveing Balance: Why You’ve Got it Wrong
“Balance” is a myth.
I’ve long felt this to be true, but it’s taken me some time to really grasp why it’s so. “Balance” is not a tangible thing—it’s not like achieving a goal, like getting that new job, finishing your book, or losing weight. “Balance” is a state of being—a by-product of how we live our life. It’s a by-product of the choices we make.
If you’re aiming for “balance,” you’ll miss the mark every time.
There are articles a-plenty telling us how to “find balance” or “create a balanced life,” but while the suggestions in these articles may be helpful, the foundational principle upon which they are based is false. This is the trouble with seeking “balance” and why so many of us never achieve it—because it’s not achievable.
Balance is not something you do. It’s something you feel about what you do.
“Balance” is a sensation, emotion, experience; it’s a noun, or, at best, an adjective (like a “balanced” diet or “balanced” checkbook!). But it’s not a verb—not when we’re talking about this type of “balance”. You can’t tell yourself to “Balance” unless it’s on a beam. So, it’s impossible to just aim for and “achieve” balance, and that’s what gets us into trouble. Are you with me so far?
Achieving Balance: How to Get it Right
So, how can we achieve a balanced state of being?
It’s really about “Choices”.
Instead of seeking for this mysterious thing called “balance” what we really need to focus on are the choices we make each and every moment of each and every day. While we can’t tell ourselves to “Balance,” we can tell ourselves to “Choose” the best options to create the sensation of balance. The action of choosing wisely can lead to feeling “balanced” because our sense of balance is really a consequence of the action of making choices.
Each choice can lead toward or away from “Balance”.
Each choice you make can lead you toward or away from a sense of balance. For example, choosing to watch TV instead of exercising or choosing to say “yes” to another thing instead of a loving “no” so you can have some down time, are both choices likely to lead away from a sense of balance. Whereas, choosing to get to bed early, put healthy foods in your body, and make some time for yourself are likely to lead toward feelings of “balance” and wellness.
Just because we understand this doesn’t suddenly make us feel balanced.
Even though I know “balance” is a myth, I still cycle around. Life’s circumstances—health, kids, work, and yes, even the choices of others—impact our own choices and can impact that cycle. But understanding these principles can make it easier to see your signs of “unbalanced” life and to know what choices to choose in order to bring balance back around. It might not happen overnight, but focusing on the choices you’re making each day is the surest way to finally “achieve balance”.
What do you think? Is balance really a myth? What are your strategies for “achieving balance”? I’d love to hear your responses and ideas, so leave a comment below!
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