If you are feeling overworked, overstretched, overwhelmed, you are more than ready for a little balance in your life. Yet by the time this awareness hits, chances are you are already way beyond the balanced position.
And when things become habitual, reversing them will be more difficult because the muscles of change have atrophied as the brain patterns have established a solid route. (Yes, they do that.)
And the people around you who you might call on to offer support have been conditioned to see you in the limited way you have been operating and they may be annoyed at your attempts to become someone other than who they think you are.
The Importance Of Balance
When you have been living life out of balance, you have raised expectations in one area of your life and lowered them in others – gearing yourself toward over and under-functioning.
Balance is worth striving for, even though pulling back the reins may contain an embedded invitation for disapproval from others. Balance is your issue to solve, not to continue struggling with. Those people who publicly struggle with it get pigeonholed as ambivalent, entitled, uncommitted, and finally incompetent.
Changing your habits without consequence is easier when you're starting fresh and have no history to combat. Taking a new job, changing your environment or starting a new relationship may be the simplest way to reclaim your time and establish greater balance in your life. And yet it's important to realize that balance is not about having more free time. It's about living a fuller, richer life that feels more enjoyable and more significant. Balance means gaining control over when, where, and how you live your life.
Creating balance requires slowing - not accelerating - the frenetic pace within and around you and includes time for solitude, reflection, meditation and love. Reclaiming some free time is vital because a lack of balance is a reflection of investing too much time and life-energy in a single aspect of your life. Without the balm of sufficient time, exhaustion kicks in and will either prevent you from enjoying your limited leisure or, if your leisure is frenzied, will impact the quality of your work.
It is beneficial to ask yourself who you would be if you couldn't identify yourself by job title, family role, or social designation. Such statements describe your capabilities, not your identity.
If the answer is puzzling to you, there is definitely a need for expanded horizons. Resistance comes from a perceived threat to your identity, when in fact what is called for is not an identity change but an expansion of behavioural options - clarifying priorities based on the difference between personal and profound integrity. In our culture, the two are often inverted – the main reason people report feeling dissatisfied with the choices they make.
Personal Integrity vs Profound Integrity
Personal integrity governs the agreements you make with your employers, your customers, your staff. It's what ensures that you arrive on time in the morning, give our best effort, treat others respectfully, and are accountable for your outcomes.
Profound integrity however governs the agreements--both explicit and implicit--that you have with the important people in your life, and with yourself. It is the reason you leave work to attend to the significant things in life: driving a loved aging parent to a medical appointment or attending a school play when you have promised to do so. It is what compels you to keep your promises to yourself, your health, growth, and heart.
When personal and profound integrity are in conflict, profound integrity trumps personal considerations. Where the reverse happens, an imbalance exists. And where imbalance exists unhappiness eventually follows.
But you knew that deep inside. I'm just explaining it. And reminding you...so you can re-establish the order of balance and integrity. Now.