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Turning Balance on its Head – Part One

Isabelle Bridges Boesch & Jessica Hagen

As mothers, we all have extremely full lives. Every day, clients call saying they want more balance: work/life balance, a balance between caring for their families and caring for themselves, and between caring for each aspect of their lives. Here’s the thing, if we want to have fulfilling lives, lives that actually feel good, we need to shift the way we look at balance. We need to turn balance on its head. 


Let’s imagine for a second that your life is a pie and each segment is a different aspect of your life - your partner is one slice of the pie, your health is another, your parenting yet another. Does the thought of having to keep all these different areas of your life equally balanced make you feel overwhelmed and hopeless? If so, you are not alone!


There’s a direct correlation between being overwhelmed and desiring balance that we don’t often recognize. In other words, it’s not the sense of being overwhelmed that makes us feel out of proportion, it’s the desire for balance — for all the pie pieces to receive equal attention — that makes us feel inundated.


Putting too much pressure on ourselves to pay attention to everything and everyone equally is not only impractical - it’s impossible.


Our lives are constantly changing, expanding, and contracting. The needs of our children and ourselves invariably shift from day to day. These facts require us to be stable, but also flexible; therefore, why would we expect complete fluidity in all aspects of our lives when life itself is not designed to work that way? It’s important to be realistic about our expectations and simultaneously conscious of how we can achieve our goals with family, friends, and work.  


Rather than strive for “balance,” learn the art of “balancing.” When you change the term balance from a noun (a state of equilibrium) to a verb (to arrange, adjust) it becomes dynamic instead of static.


In this three-part series, we’ll discuss the three most important things to think about when looking to find equality in our consistently wavering world: 1) Grounding into our values, 2) Core activation, and 3) Focusing on one point.


Grounding into our Values

Consider not only what you allot your time to, but why you do the things you do. If you’re often spending time considering what other people think of you and how you have to please or satisfy others’ viewpoints regarding what they think is right, you’re ultimately ignoring what you consider to be important in life and what you think should be done. In other words, ask yourself the following questions: If I didn’t care what anyone else thinks or feels, would I do this? What would I do if I wasn’t trying to please anyone other than myself? 


Value your own thoughts and feelings on what you think is important before you thoroughly consider what others find meaningful to them. It’s always beneficial to take constructive criticism into account, but it’s equally vital to make your own judgment call on what the best path forward is for you. It can be exhausting and extremely unproductive to give too much weight to others’ opinions, especially because everyone has a different point of view. Once you’ve established what you personally value and have taken others’ comments into consideration, make your own judgment call. Trust yourself. 


Another very important aspect of grounding yourself in your values is making sure what you’re doing is not jeopardizing your non-negotiables (i.e., sleep, not working on the weekends, not being away from your kids for more than four nights, not drinking alcohol, being sure to get enough exercise, etc.). If you’ve vowed to commit yourself to being more healthy, do your best to stick to the goals you’ve set to achieve success. If you’ve decided what kind of life you want to lead and/or what kind of person you want to be, strive to fulfill that vision. All we can do is our best, and oftentimes people come to find out their best is more than good enough as long as they’re true to themselves. 


Your Viewpoints Matter

It’s stressful when you feel it necessary to take everyone else’s viewpoints into consideration, either to please others or because you lack the confidence that your own POVs are valid. Your ideas matter. Though it may seem difficult to do, sit alone in a room or outside for five minutes at any time of day. During this period, contemplate what you think about the subject at hand. For example, if you’re having trouble with a friend or coworker, think about all the circumstances that brought you to this point. Consider how you would solve the problem or what your approach should be. Do not think of what others would do, but what your deepest feelings are and how you think the issue can be handled. This can be done in any situation. Ask yourself, “How can I move forward in a way I feel good about?” Five minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you sit alone with no distractions, you can get more thoughts together than you would think.


Always remember to value yourself and others will in turn value you.

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