by Heather Castellanos
As you drive into work, you notice that for the past 15 minutes you have been completely dazed. You get to work, look at the calendar and think, "Holy sh*t. It's May?! When did that happen?" Before you know it, it's 2:00pm, your eyelids are heavy, all you want to do is sleep, but you can't stop thinking about all the things you need to do as soon as you leave work...the same 500 things that you have been telling yourself you would do all week long that you never get to. Why haven't you gotten to them? Why do you always feel this way? Because you're exhausted- everything you do is a chore. Your motivation to do anything is pretty much nonexistent and you find yourself just going through the motions of your life.
Does this scenario sound familiar at all? The pace and demands of our lives today have essentially made us prisoners to everything and everyone. We are forever attached to our phones and emails, our need for instant gratification as a result of technology has made even our families demand more from us, instantly. Do it now. Answer me now. Not later, now. As human beings, our inherent desire to feel loved and to please others (especially for many women) makes us slaves to these demands. We're spiraling out of control which makes us stressed, moody and unhappy. As a whole, we are losing a sense of balance- a vital component that helps bring peace, joy, and harmony to our lives.
Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid was a bad a$$ dude who was very wise- we can all learn a lot from him. One lesson he teaches Daniel-san is about the importance of balance.
Balance? What is balance? There are many ways to describe it. For me, balance is knowing when enough is enough. It's taking control of your own life to allow yourself a breath; to allow yourself to make the time for the things that bring light into your life. Balance means understanding that there will be stress, there will be negativity, there will be sadness, but there must also be calm, positivity and joy. It sounds so simple, but for many of us, it is quite difficult to achieve. We live in a world where external factors rule and what we want and need-those desires and needs that come from within us-are stifled by the noise of our jobs, our kids, our bosses, our parents, our bank accounts, our televisions, our peers, and even our own warped thoughts- thoughts of who we should be, what our lives should look like as shaped by the pressures of our environments.
Finding balance takes practice and conscious effort every day. Here are 3 steps you can take that will help get you on the right path to bringing you back to you.
1. Admit that your life is a little lopsided
Yes, admission is the first step. Could you use a little more peace and happiness in your life? If the answer is yes, then admit that. Say it out loud. Society bombards us with the idea that we need to be able to handle everything, accomplish everything, be everything all at once, and all by ourselves. We all want to be, or feel the need to be, super(wo)man, so when confronted with the idea of being out of control of our lives, we quickly try to convince ourselves that this is the way we want it. I love my crazy, overly demanding, exhausting life and I wouldn't want it any other way! Come on, now. Who are you fooling, really? It's okay to show a little vulnerability. Being honest with yourself and saying, "yeah, okay, I think things are a little out of whack here," is only going to help you improve your life; make YOU happier and healthier.
2. Take responsibility for it
If your life has gotten a little off kilter, there is no one to blame but yourself. Own it. Every choice you have made has led you to this point. It's not your boss's fault, it's not your kids' fault, or your husband's fault, or your job's fault, or your dog's fault, or whatever it is you try to blame for your situation. It's your fault. A harsh, but real truth. The only way you will be able to take steps in the right direction and gain balance is if you are willing to acknowledge that you, alone, got yourself here and you, alone, have the power to change that.
Now, this is not to say that certain situations and people did not influence the decisions you made or will make. And it's not to say that the choices you make are not difficult, or even seemingly impossible. They are. We all experience this. Sometimes the choice that brings on the negativity and chaos really is the only option in a given situation. I, 100%, get that. The goal of this step is to recognize that we do possess the power to choose in every situation and that our choices determine our paths. It is inevitable that you will have to choose to make your life more difficult, to put your well-being on the back burner. However, it is important to remember the gives and takes. If you are going to continually take from yourself and not give something back, you will eventually suffer the consequences of that by way of falling out of balance.
3. Get help
Finding balance among life's turmoil is not an easy feat. Often times, just identifying what it is that is pulling things out of whack if just as tricky as fixing it. Talk to someone about it- a friend, a family member, or even a coach. Just explaining out loud what you are experiencing can help you work through it and make some realizations. Also, allowing someone you trust, and who knows you, to listen and give feedback will give you an opportunity to hear an outside perspective. People tend to get stuck in their own heads and how they perceive things. A loved one or coach will be able to see your situation from a different point of view, and they can give a fresh perspective which may be able to help you see the forest through the trees.
A simple definition of balance is, "the ability to move or remain in a position without losing control or falling." Our lives are in perpetual motion with outside forces pushing and pulling at us from all angles constantly. Finding and maintaining balance is an ongoing process that takes continual effort and intention. Start with these three steps and you will be on your way toward creating a life that includes more happiness, peace and harmony.
Remember what Miyagi say:
"Lesson not just karate only. Lesson whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better."