How To Find Your Balance

by Jill Tucker, LPC-S

We’ve all heard it said, “I’m out of balance,” or “It’s all about balance.”

But what does that mean?

What does that even look like and better yet, how do you get there?

I’m the first one to attest to using these statements in both my personal life and professional career. I am always, always, in one way or another, be it with myself or someone else, thinking about balance. For instance, like I wrote in my last post, I bounce back and forth between feeling overwhelmed and centered; I find my inner calm and have space between appointments, projects and commitments and then I overload, over extend and saturate myself. The kicker for me is knowing when to recognize these times in my life so that I can take action to remedy them and find the happy-medium that my deepest self is craving.

Through writing, meditation and conversation I am better able to understand what gets in the way, what over crowds and what I need to either eliminate or increase (i.e. eliminate commitments or increase my time alone). Each of these tasks helps to identify specifically what is getting in the way and where it might be coming from.

Let me detour here for just a second.

Knowing the “why” behind being out of balance is extremely important.

We can focus on what we’re doing to ourselves all we want, but without getting our hands a little dirty and digging for the root of the cause we’re going to keep finding ourselves in the same position. To explain this a little further, it is my belief that there are reasons why we keep overcommitting. For example, my not being able to say “no” to someone or having a sense of “obligation” that i feel guilty about not following through with. From there, the feelings of guilt might be because of my need to please others in order to feel “needed,” “wanted,” or “valuable.” – Get my drift?

Sometimes I find myself struggling to make decisions because I’m afraid of losing out.

If I choose one thing then I can’t always have the other. For me, this can become the biggest reason I continue to say “yes.” When in all reality, my need to not miss out on something stems much deeper into my past then it is really relevant to my present or future self and if I would acknowledge that more often, I believe I would find more satisfaction and success without spreading myself too thin and making it nearly impossible to give 100% in each area.

Think of it like you’re pealing back the layers of an onion, the outer layer is the feelings of exhaustion or anxiety when you have too much on your plate or have too high of expectations around you and the layers continue to get deeper and deeper towards the center, when you recognize exactly what the outer layers are protecting (i.e. our defenses).

Once we can recognize what our defenses are trying to protect we can move forward with gaining a deeper understanding of our beliefs, fears, previous hurts, etc., and recognize them when they present themselves and lead to another “yes.”

So here’s the pitfall.

When we overcommit, get out of balance, lose our peace, feel overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted we run the risk of building up resentments towards others, feeling unnoticed, unimportant, getting burnt out and forget that we have all the power to change what is going on.

It isn’t about others when we are out of balance, it is about us.

There is always room to reach out, ask for help, say “no,” take a mini-vacation (even just an afternoon at the park), find a babysitter, do something for ourselves… and the list goes on. Knowing when to honor yourself is so important! Without it you cannot truly honor another. Even as a parent or caregiver, you must first “fill your cup,” and “put on your oxygen mask,” before giving of yourself. So easy to say, so difficult to practice… So try to keep it simple and not over complicated it.

Start small and just listen to yourself. From there everything else will follow.

Take Action!

  • Take deep breaths to calm your nerves and re-center your mind
  • Take inventory of yourself daily with pen and paper
  • Be honest with what you are feeling about your day-to-day obligations and commitments
  • Pay attention to your stress – it is communicating something very important
  • Say “No” respectfully
  • Give yourself grace
  • Ask for help

Attuning to yourself is the biggest step towards inner balance and peace. Instead of ignoring what is going on in side, take a deeper look and listen. You will be amazed just how much freedom you find in allowing yourself to feel what it needs to, recognize what has been hiding and understand why your life gets out of balance too easily. Remaining mindful on a daily basis will not only affect your feelings internally but externally as well. Your relationships will be more fulfilling and your endeavors will be more fruitful.

Remember your body is your best teacher, you just have to learn how to listen to it and respect what it’s saying. Finding out what gets in the way of your balance will help you better understand what will create more peace, enjoyment, fulfillment and inspiration.

Jill Tucker

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