Finding balance isn’t something valued by everyone. Furthermore, balance for you is unbalanced to someone else. Moreover, finding balance isn’t about everyone living some bland, reasonably perfected life. It’s about living the life YOU value and being true to that. Balance can still be bold. If you are suffering and feel your life is “out-of-whack,” here are some suggestions for self-reflection on finding inner balance.
1) Be Reasonable With Yourself
Many people have unreasonable expectations about what they can accomplish in a day, or at all. This leads to feeling frantic, unsettled, and disappointed. Consequently, the quality of our work suffers. There is only so much you can do in a day, and do well. Over-booking leads to burn-out and self-defeating patterns. Each task or project has a beginning, middle, and end. When you habitually get halfway through the middle of something, only to abandon your task for the next, you are then left with ten unfinished tasks and a large mess. Two things well-done in a day (or week) are worth more than ten abandoned tasks that leave you with a lot to finish at the end instead of finding balance.
Get a calendar and schedule out your goals. See if you can reduce or reorganize so that you have time for each task. When doing this, make sure you include all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, not just accomplishment-based activities. Your spiritual life matters, as does your social, physical, intellectual, and emotional life!
We need to stop and rethink how we are living. Does your day, week, or month reflect who you are? It is best to know what’s most important to us and demonstrate finding balance. At SpiritQuest, we use a “wheel of balance” to help make this reassessment easier. Basically, this wheel is made of your emotional, intellectual, physical, social, creative, spiritual, and work-life (including all categories from financial to the dishes). We like to include fun or relaxing time in there, as well. It helps to rate the quality of each of these categories; how satisfied you are with each. Also, rate how important each area is to you. Note how much energy each day is devoted to one category. Most people find one or two are over-represented, while one or two are similarly neglected. Seeing this big picture is a great step toward finding balance.
3) Regret, Guilt, and Fear
Noticing and dealing with negative emotions as they arise is very important. If our mindfulness lapses, we may not even notice we are experiencing negative emotions. Negative emotions don’t have to be a problem. They are a natural and normal part of being human. The problem is when they go unnoticed or unchallenged and we begin to believe them. Actively practice noticing negative thoughts without admonishing yourself for having them. Once you get better at seeing them arise, practice being open to what they have to teach you. Ask yourself if it is important. Consider that the negative emotion comes from a false belief that you are ready to release. An example would be; “I am not good enough as is.”
4) Recognize You Cannot Do it All and Find Balance
I have bad news for those of you who believe anyone can have it all . . . you can’t. No one can have “it all,” because whenever we make a choice, we automatically exclude all other possibilities. Many of us want to deny this fact because it is quite uncomfortable. It can lead people to live in a frenzy, addicted to maximizing, while others become paralyzed because the choices are too many. You do have to choose what is most important and leave the rest to find balance. You will be the most satisfied with your life if you live each day as close to your inner sense of purpose as possible, and let go of everything else. This requires sacrifice.
5) Get Yourself Some Grit: Believe in Yourself and Your Path
Find your inner strength and balance. Then you can let go of what doesn’t serve you. Walking your path, strong in your truth, will not always be easy. Courage or “hutzpah” is learned. You will have to dig deep within and find your inner advocate. This is that inner voice that says “no” to distraction and “yes” to you and to life.
Balance requires grace, wisdom, and elegance. Finding balance also means fighting our inner “demons” that have, in the past, lead us off our truth. Thus, tricking us into excessive passivity, dread, boredom, and despair. To find balance, you must develop grit, and have the presence of mind to be aware of the times you stumble. Just stay the course.