You need to live a balanced life. Or at least that is what you say to yourself. But where did that idea come from?
Somewhere the narrative created an equation of happy life equals balanced life. There is nothing wrong with that math, except no one shared how to solve the equation.
You can say, “I want to live a balanced life now so that I can be happy now”.
But what do you do next?
Think of all the questions that come with solving this mystery:
- What if you don’t know how to become balanced?
- Can you learn to be balanced or are you just born with it?
- How do you control the balance in your life if everything that makes you feel imbalanced is someone or something other than you?
- When do you know that you have achieved balance and, if you do, how do you keep it?
- Can you live a happy life and not be in balance?
These are just a sample of what comes to mind around the subject of happiness and balance. The good news is that you are not broken, off track, or a bad person if you don’t know how to answer these questions.
The real answer to all of these questions (and even the ones not asked) is that there is no one answer.
So What is Balance?
Based on who you are and where you are on your life’s journey, at times there can be no answer at all.
The truth is that lack of clarity and lack of answers can make being in balance just seem impossible. Therefore it’s the equation that is broken, not you.
But that doesn’t mean that you should just abandon being in balance.
Like anything in life that you may want to pursue, there is the potential in having joy in the journey and in achieving the milestones along the way.
Balance is the opportunity for more joy, more satisfaction, and more zest out of life. If you believe that this version of life is worth pursuing then, yes, you want to have balance in your life.
And it is possible.
Let’s create a milestone together and explore the possibility of a balanced life.
Create Possibility by Definition
You are the only one who can create the definition of balance for your life.
You are the master carpenter erecting this structure in your life.
This empowered position is an excellent starting point toward gaining the joy in your life that you want. And it is the kick-off point to establishing the balance you want to have.
You get to decide.
Balance for you can mean that you are able to well juggle the obligations of family, work, personal health, and finances.
It could also mean that you are able to be equally mindful of your goals for your physical well-being, your educational pursuits, and your spiritual priorities.
You may want to have a fabulous career, raise a beautiful family, and also travel the world.
Life overflows with potential and opportunity. You decide what options are the ones that make sense to you and for you.
Choose which life experiences lend to what you are and which ones pull away from where you want to be. You do not have to do everything and you do not have to make all things a priority.
By participating in selected life experiences, you have the opportunity for defining your happiness. And you decide the amount of time, attention, and focus you dedicate to the experiences that you want to have.
In this way, you have defined balance by what you do and what you elect not to do. When you place the most focus on what you love you have a better chance of experiencing balance.
How Does Balance Feel
Sometimes words just don’t do justice to describing a feeling. Feelings are meant to be felt.
Trying to define balance as a feeling can therefore be difficult. However, it is important to define the feeling of balance for yourself so that you can recognize when you have achieved it.
Balance can take on many characteristics based on what life experiences are at any moment.
Defining and then prioritizing experiences that you love produces a myriad of good feelings.
- Go to bed on time and wake up feeling rested
- Complete the work you planned in your day and leave work feeling productive.
- Spend time with your kids playing ball in the backyard and after you’re feeling energized and thankful
- Step out of your 20-minute shower feeling fresh and relaxed
You take all of these parts and pieces and reflect upon them before you go to sleep. And you say to yourself, you had a good day.
The summary may be that you simply feel good. But if asked, you may also say that you feel balanced.
The Feeling Definition of Balance
The sensation of
- being in flow
- achieving your goals
- satisfying others’ needs
- enjoying the people you love
- gaining your wants and desires, and
- receiving unexpected but pleasant surprises
All of these and more can feel like balance to you.
Even if everything happens at once when the net outcome is plus the feeling of balance is the outcome.
Defining and feeling the experiences that create joy is how you define and feel being in balance.
Understanding the Role of Imbalance
Imbalance in life is not exactly the opposite of balance.
If balance equals good feelings and happy experiences, being out of balance does not necessarily equal bad feelings and unhappy events.
Knowing this can hopefully relieve a little pressure in reaching the goal of balance.
Perfect balance is not a requirement for happiness and you don’t want it to be. Freeing yourself from this expectation provides more options, more choice.
You know many people who are intentionally and blissfully out of balance all the time. If you don’t know them personally, you have seen them on tv. You may be one of them!
You may wonder how someone so out of whack can still be so joyfully intact. Are they just ignoring their pain?
Imbalance Is Better Than You Think
Lack of balance can be chaotic or fun. It can be spontaneous or irrational. When you realize that life is never perfect you can appreciate the perfect chaos that is life.
In this way, you can see the benefit to all aspects of life and not fall to pieces when imbalance shows its ugly head.
- Dinner burned. Perfect time for pizza night!
- Boss created a new project in the middle of your day. Perfect opportunity to learn something new and abandon your same old boring tasks!
- Left your wallet at home when trying to checkout at the store. Guess you’ll spend a little more time listening to your favorite song in the car!
The bottom line is you dictate what imbalance is to you.
Imbalance can be embraced as a welcomed part of life. It can be an opportunity for gratitude in all that life has to offer, the ups and the downs, and everything in between.
Good Things Can Actually Come From Bad Experiences
The reality is that living life imbalanced can be a significant part of achieving happiness.
When you are cramming for an exam or prepping for a major presentation, you may not sleep for 2 days, barely eat, and talk to no one. But the outcome of this extreme focus may be the biggest accomplishment you have ever experienced.
A relationship gone bad can make you laser-focused on the type of romance most important to you. A job you must quit can create a desire for a business you must build.
When big transitions happen, you may first only see the pain in the situation. And that’s okay.
Your biggest deviations from balance can inspire your most substantial dreams for blissful existence.
You can be on top of the world tomorrow just because you allowed yourself to live in imbalance today.
Understand when imbalance can serve you, educate you, and even motivate you to become more. Your living in imbalance can be the way that you define your goal of balance with better clarity and increased certainty.
Managing You Through Imbalance
There is another side to imbalance.
That’s the imbalance burn that sets the whole forest on fire.
The times when you become consumed in any one area of your life and feel as if you completely neglected all other priorities.
- Your family suffers because your work has become your everything.
- Your relationship suffers because you have placed your children on a pedestal above everything else.
- Your own health wanes because you have to make sure that everyone else in your life gets your time and energy.
When you abandon balance for obsession on any subject for too long, you drain the essence from all the other aspects of life that bring you joy.
The assortment of pleasures that life has to offer is there for you to make the most out of your life. When you sacrifice the all for the one, you simultaneously choose to limit your access to life’s pleasures.
Gaining joy, pleasure, happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life is what gives life its purpose.
Limiting your access to these treasures can make life feel like a purposeless burden.
The reality is that life may call upon you to be imbalanced at times. A sick child, a serious work obligation, a parent in need, an almost foreclosed home, these are not the times to worry over your life balance.
Know the difference of when imbalance is required or an unhealthy option drawn.
Seeking Imbalance is Walking a Backward Path
Some parts of life demand acting with urgency and treating parts of your life as an emergency. But there are also times when imbalance can become an unhealthy habit through patterned avoidance.
The other priorities in your life can be damaged or difficult and not an immediate source of happiness for you.
To avoid having to confront the challenge of correcting the problem, you may elect to be imbalanced and to focus all of your attention where you feel that you can most easily feel better.
Initially, this is not a poor choice or a bad option. Placing attention on the areas of life that provide you joy can lead to feelings of balance that can eventually be shared across all subjects.
You are allowed to fill your cup in any way that you choose that puts you in the best space to live your best life.
But perpetual avoidance can become an addiction.
Living Only in Safe Spaces Can Be Another Way That Life Becomes Limited.
If you only live to work because this is where you succeed and then work becomes dysfunctional, you lose your only source of joy.
You may look to your work to fulfill the other parts of life that you failed to invest in putting in balance.
In this case, your work cannot love you like a spouse or guide you like a parent. But you may misplace these needs in unhealthy places because you have avoided nurturing other aspects of your life.
Purposeful imbalance due to obsessive pain avoidance can lead to a very unhappy life.
Creating ways to balance life through a diversity of joyful outlets can make finding balance a much easier mission to tackle. Even when some areas of life need a little work, focusing on the prospect of a better condition can create joy in the process.
Avoiding a problem may seem like a resolution but can lead away from the bigger picture of a better and more balanced life.
Living a Balanced Life
Now that you have defined your balance, your imbalance, and gained clarity of purpose and feeling, it’s time to live what you know.
Living as balanced is an everyday adventure.
Take time to explore and identify the different parts of life that you see as a priority.
Intentionally set as priority those aspects of life that bring the most joy and happiness, even if that means a little work involved to get them to their fullest potential.
Take pride in yourself when you have chosen imbalance as a way to propel yourself into a more favorable place. Remember it is okay to trade a little pain for a lot of gains.
Be mindful to not let your imbalance tip the scales and take you to a negative place. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and too much of a bad thing can be devastating.
Find ways to fill your cup, regain your focus, and live life with purpose.
You choose if a balanced life is the type of life that you want to live on purpose. But know that there 100% can be a purpose to living a balanced life when you choose it.
Remember, you are not broken if balance is not your life today, but you can decide today if you want to be balanced.
Related Article: 7 Ways to Create Balance in Your Imbalanced Life
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