Why does trying to Achieve Balance feel more like achieving Anxiety?
I’m calling B.S!
I felt like I was trying to become a Pro Juggler, focusing on mastering the craft every moment of my waking hours…and during the sleeping ones! I had more balls in the air than the NBA’s 82 game season! I wanted every single one of those balls because they were all so shinny and appealing…perfect Mother, perfect friend, perfect businesswoman, active volunteer, domestic Goddess, gorgeously fit, healthy, kicking goals wearing heels, nurturing partner, puppy-mummy, romantic, funny, community minded and permanently positive…oh my!
Hell, the only ball missing was the “BALANCE” ball!
The way us modern day must-have-and-do-it-all people roll, the concept of Balance is laughable! We talk about it, read about and know of it’s importance yet, who actually DOES it? Attempting to achieve and keep balance in all the many areas of life only seems to result in anxiety and beating up on one self! The quest for this BS often does us no damn good.
Where do we even get this idea that we should be living a balanced life? We get it from EVERYWHERE! Social media, TV, books, yoga class, the perfect neighbor who seems to have all her ducks in a row, the colleague who’s fit, happy and successful and our mentors who have it all.
Anxiety rains supreme as we end up comparing ourselves to the balanced lives we think other people have created.
Then comes the self judgment, “Why is it so hard for me to have work-life balance? I have more work than life and have no idea how they do it! Why is it so easy for THEM?” Which makes us crack the whip on ourselves even harder! The cycle is rotten.
Fortunately, I know that our perception of other people is mostly incorrect and what appears to be is not what is. A balanced life is as rare and hard to obtain as a tidy toddler.
My bookshelves are filled with loads of self-helpery books that talk about 2 different types of balance; there’s work/life balance and having equal parts in all the different areas of life. Then there’s mental and emotional Balance, as in “That guy is a well balanced dude!” What does that even mean??? Level? Not tilted in any particular direction? Wt…?
The pressure and importance placed on BALANCE feels like PERFECTION!
Trying to create a balanced life caused my anxiety to wake me up in the middle of the night with the feeling of being pegged in the chest by one of those many balls I had up in the air. I’d wake with a jolt in a breathless panic with the vision of my life roaring by and I hadn’t yet started to live a balanced life! Aaaaarrrgggghhh!!!
Looking back at my years of training for the Pro Juggler award, I understand why I was permanently exhausted. And stressed. And anxiety ridden. And feeling like a failure.
I was failing because I set myself an unobtainable, unrealistic damaging goal. All I achieved was giving my ANXIETY more ammunition to use against me.
Now I realise, I didn’t actually want or need to be all those things at the same time, or ever for that matter!
I thought I had to be!
When I sat back in a third party position and looked at my life and myself, I saw it clearly for what it was. A desperate attempt by a people pleaser to BE everything and DO everything FOR everyone else without a thought for myself. However, when I chunked down, there was a deeper need underneath that was for myself…I needed to be loved, accepted, fit in, not judged, valued…I had a belief that I had to be everything to get all my needs met. You know the ridiculous thing? Nobody in my world thought I needed to be all those things, I just assumed they did.
You too, huh?
More often than not, other peoples expectations of you are nothing like the expectations you weigh yourself down with. They are self-imposed.
How’s this for a new concept? What if you gave yourself permission to shove the urgency for a balanced life and exchanged it for an unpredictable MIXED-BLEND life?
It works for nuts, lolies, seasoning, Chianti and coffee! Even mixed veg is a thing! A Mixed-Blend is wayyyyy more interesting than boring balanced!
Now, try it yourself. Sit back for a moment, yes, right now…may as well do this together…and look at you and your life and weekly happenings. Sit back and watch like you’re an observer, a third party or outsider, watching a movie on a screen or flicking through photos on your device. What do you notice?
Lots of self imposed pressure?
Next, notice what are you saying to yourself. Any sentences starting with self-pressure statements?
“I should be…I ort to…Why can’t I ever…I must be…I’ve got to do…I need to be…”
What do you notice? Are you achieving balance? NOPE!!!
A MIXED-BLEND life can appear to others on the surface to be an un-organised mess and that’s ok. How things appear to someone else is their business and not for you to care about. Each day you can mix it up, one day you can be smashing this life thingy, kicking ass, getting stuff done and on fire, then the next day you can have a pajama day playing Mindcraft with your kids, without the guilt! Random shifts in your routine is fun and healthy for your stress levels. You don’t have to be awesome at every part of your life at the same time!
I hear a sigh of relief…
You will have the option to be what ever you feel like being at each moment in time.
You will discover that you get more accomplished on your ON days because you are not a hot mess of urgency. Take away the urgency of trying to be balanced and you’ll notice you have more energy, more brain space, clarity of thought and be able to stop long enough to enjoy your achievements. Imagine what that would be like. You will function more effectively because your motivation will change from… ‘I’ve got to…’ to ‘I want to…’ !!!
Sounds good and you feel better already, right?