I’m not the first one to declare such a thing. Others have said it before me. But if you’re like me, you probably ignore them thinking, Well, that’s fine for everyone else. But I can totally live a balanced life. Watch me!
And then you go about running yourself down to threads saying yes to every exciting new project, scrubbing your home lemon fresh, preparing wholesome meals (from organic local farms only, of course), keeping your resolution to treadmill your way to glory, while celebrating each and every birthday, job promotion, engagement, and new baby.
We all think we can do it. I want you to know that you can’t. (I know, I’m such a party pooper.)
When my son was first born, he needed every little slice of me. And I wanted to give it to him. I poured all my patience, care, and energy into him – so much, there wasn’t a bit left over for anyone else, including myself.
Now, if I was aiming for balance at that time, I’d have made absolute certain to get on my yoga mat daily. I’d have left that teeny tiny human with Grandma and met friends for drinks. I’d have gone on long hikes to reflect on the crazy turn my life had just taken. Ah, motherhood. What’s it all about?
Oooooo, and a massage! I’d have definitely made time for a massage. And for sure, I’d have checked in with my husband, asked him how his day was going, and made sure he was all good and satisfied while waiting for the doctor to give the ol’ hot and heavy thumbs up.
Social life, self-care, reflection, and romance. I think that covers it. Sounds pretty balanced, right?
Maybe. Had I lived a “balanced” life at that time, I may have felt totally connected to my friends, my partner, and myself. But I wouldn’t have felt connected to the newest human on Earth, the one entrusted to me. I was given a new title: momma. And in order to do it well, I needed to give it my all. Actually, I needed to give it everything I had, and then more with a cherry on top.
The myth of creating balance in our lives makes us feel like we’re failing at life. We’ll never be able to achieve “balance” as we imagine it. Each day will be tipped towards one or two things that demand our attention. We think the other aspects of our life are suffering because of it. But they’re not. They’re really just on pause.
In her book, The Fire Starter Sessions, Danielle LaPorte explains it like this,
Sadly, we frequently and unconsciously structure our lives so that our work, our spirit, and our significant relationships are set against one another in a competition of importance. Someone or something is bound to lose in this equation. When we deny one of the fundamentals of our life the attention it’s asking us for, our whole life is affected…To be a whole person we need to fully recognize that we have these very distinct parts of our life, and that each part needs to be honored and tended to.
To harmonize our life, we need to let each part of it have center stage when it feels most urgent and ripe.
It’s like watching a movie and reading a book simultaneously. You just can’t do that and get the most out of each one. You have to put one down and focus on the other. Same thing in life. You can’t focus on your art and your physical fitness at the same time. Some weeks you are on your game creativity-wise. And other weeks you are hitting bar classes like you live there.
When I’m starting to feel “unbalanced” I turn towards my values. They tell me what is important. That is, they shine a spotlight on what rises above the rest, what it is I need to focus on for the moment. At times, it’s my health. Later, my relationship. And so on. If you feel unbalanced, it may just mean you need to shift your attention. (I created a little workbook to help you sort it out. Get it here!)
It’s like this – your values are always your values. Meaning, you can focus everything on your creativity, but if your best friend needs you, you drop everything and go to her because that is a priority for you.
Oprah said, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” I’m finally starting to believe her. Let’s try something different. Instead of trying to do it all, have it all, be it all, maybe we could focus on living a value-driven life. Forget about that “balance” you’ve been striving for. Real balance is knowing what your values and priorities are, not in devoting equal time to ALL areas of your life each week. That will never happen. So, let’s just let go of that myth right now. It’s making us feel like failures and holding us back from diving with abandon into the projects that are important to us.
Stop feeling guilty about all the things you have to put on pause in order to live life well. Pour yourself a glass of something yummy and sit your tushy down. It’s okay. The world won’t implode.
If you’re feeling unbalanced or a little out of whack, check out this workbook I created to help you shift your focus towards what is really calling out to you at the moment.
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