In today’s competitive world, we are driven to reach higher, perform better, produce more and "give it all up for the team." In the frenzy of everyday existence, we become exhausted, frustrated and often depressed because of the pressures that keep us moving at a frantic pace. This happens at work, as we are motivated to "climb the ladder," and at home, where perfection rears its ugly head as we raise our children, volunteer in the community and try to look like we have it all together as we crumble inside.
In our heads, we know what it takes to calm the chaos in life, having read strategies for scheduling, organizing and putting ourselves at the top of our to-do lists, yet we still find it too difficult to commit to those principles to reduce stress, for a calmer life.
Some people don’t desire a balanced life; they consider it boring and unfulfilling, and a hindrance to success. They feel like a failure if they don’t aspire to super-human expectations for themselves. They don’t want to disappoint others who they feel are depending on them. To them, life balance is something to be avoided.
Is balance really a sign of laziness or complacency? Is saying "no" to others, in deference to our own priorities, a bad thing? Is being admired for being a super hero more important than being rested and happy?
Here are some things I have learned after finding my life totally out of balance, as I became exhausted in complete submission to my work:
- Most of us feel the pressure to "perform" to be valued and admired by others, because we have been brought up to think that we are measured by our productivity. It’s just our nature, we get lost in the frenzy and totally forget to take care of ourselves.
- There is a tendency to be driven to make everything and everyone else around us more important, but is that pressure self-imposed? Do we really have to continue doing for people to love us?
- Slowing down is a choice that you now have. You have been brought to this point in time when you can decide just how you want to spend your time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It is up to you how you choose to use yours.
- All of us have struggled with being "human doings" instead of "human beings." We feel special only when we are praised for doing so much, so well.
- Think about how it would feel to be admired and praised for being focused and at ease. What would it feel like for others to look at you in awe for how in control of your life you are?
- Slowing down requires an intimacy with others. When you have more time with them, you have to be present. Are you afraid of that intimacy? Are you ready to spend the time with those who are most important to you, instead of being too busy to connect?
- Slowing down also requires practice. It doesn’t come naturally or easily, but with a commitment, it can be done.
Balance is not a bad word. In fact, it is critical to a healthy mind, body and spirit. But I looked up some other words that you can use that might fit better. Consider living with these instead:
Simplicity Excellence Peace of mind Presence of mind Clarity
Harmony Self-control Serenity Tranquility
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