I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the phrase “finding balance” for a very long time now. We tend to think that having “balance” in life equals “having it all.”
Does it really, though?
One of my favorite Dalai Lama quotes is “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.“ These words have always served me as a reminder that anything “great” or anything truly worth having, requires not just discipline, but also some sort of sacrifice.
We live in a day and age of opportunity. Now, more than ever, we’re aware of our potential and all the possibilities. While living a life full of possibilities is an amazing concept, it also comes at a cost.
FINDING BALANCE, HAVING IT ALL + 7 QUOTES TO INSPIRE HARMONY
ABOUT “HAVING IT ALL”
Every day, we hear people say that there’s so much to do, yet so little time to do it all. Many years ago, people didn’t have this problem- simply because there wasn’t as much opportunity to do other things. You went to work, came home, had dinner, put the kids to bed and went to sleep. Wake up and repeat. Today we’re constantly being told to focus on doing bigger and better things and nothing ever seems to be good enough. We give up those few extra hours of sleep to finish work; we give up on having a love life to focus on our careers. Somehow being a stay-at-home parent no longer seems to be enough. No, because you should also be a skilled chef, have a circle of fun, interesting friends whom you always have enough time to hang out with, look great in a bikini and do something that fulfills your creativity like painting or perhaps writing a mystery novel which you hope to self-publish one day. There’s just so much opportunity, everywhere we look. More opportunity to grow, more opportunity to learn, to play, to have fun, to expand and to work.
In a way, we try to achieve the impossible. We focus on finding balance while also racing to “have it all.” Well, the truth is that you can’t have it all. You can’t have it all because there will always be something you’ll have to give up. Sometimes, the key to finding balance is to simply do and want less. It’s finding peace and harmony deep within; it’s recognizing that your needs change along with the seasons of your life. It’s about admitting that you value one thing more than the other, and being okay with it. That “all” we’re looking for, it doesn’t have to mean “at all costs.”
FINDING BALANCE: SETTING BOUNDARIES
Setting boundaries is one of the most important things to focus on when finding balance. It’s so easy to fall into a cycle of overcommitting. You overcommit to work and answer work-related phone calls or emails when you should be spending time with your loved ones. OR you overcommit to your social life while missing out on something important. You tell yourself that you “just have to” do those few extra favors for someone, even when you’d rather be doing something else. Maybe you’re overcommitting to caring for someone else while allowing yourself to run on empty?
The easiest way to set up those emotional boundaries is to sit down and define a few non-negotiables in your life. What are some things that you are not willing to give up? Your boundaries should be set based on your priorities and adjusted accordingly, as your life changes. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into too many different directions- it’s up to you to set those boundaries and say “no” to things that either don’t feel right or don’t bring you closer to your happiness.
“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” ~Thomas Kinkade
“The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.” ~ Anonymous
“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” ~Rachel Wolchin
“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” ~ Betsy Jacobson
“Find your balance and stand with it. Find your song and sing it out. Find your cadence and let it appear like a dance. Find the questions that only you know how to ask and the answers that you are content to not know.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher
“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” ~John Steinbeck
Finding balance is a delicate art that requires flexibility. It’s about adjusting your expectations and allowing them to shift. Remember that your life has many moving parts. Some days will be good, some not so much. There will be days that will leave you feeling great about your work and personal life, and then there will be days where you’ll feel that despite all your effort, everything is falling apart.
Sometimes that’s exactly what finding balance is about. It’s about knowing that those shitty days have their purpose too- without them, you wouldn’t know what it’s like to have those good, productive, happy and fulfilling moments. When you put the same amount of value on everything, then nothing truly has value.