I Googled the definition and one variation I really liked, according to The Free Dictionary (2022) describes balance as, “A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design.” Sometimes when I hear people and even myself describing being better balanced, it almost feels like a task to add to the list of things we could be doing better, which sounds less harmonious and more like a standard I might feel sub par in meeting.
Being ‘better balanced’ is not a bad thing, and when most people hear it being discussed, it generally appears it is about positive hopes and goals we might have for making life more harmonious in general. However, in a world where perfection is often rewarded and disruptions or difficult time periods remind us that balance is not always something we can control, I wonder how we respond to life when not feeling balanced.
Does it add to more pressure in our lives, becoming another reminder that life actually feels very unbalanced? Does that thought create more stress?
Sometimes I feel that the word balance itself becomes a pressure cooker; an endless goal in a world that often is anything but balanced. As I reflect on my thoughts and feelings around it, I sometimes worry that this ideal that things should be balanced is creating more distress for us than is needed. I do want to put a disclaimer out that I do not actually believe when certain things feel balanced that this is bad, often it is really good and often can be a sign of healthy boundaries (and other healthy and good things happening). However, I wonder if it is less about truly being ‘balanced’ and more about the definition above, feeling that things in life are harmonious.
In this description, I picture being balanced looking like resiliency, navigating the twists and turns that are out of our control in life, while still feeling a sense of peace and a confidence about it. I am not often thi knit-picky about word choices, but if you are feeling anything like me, harmonious has a different feel to it than when I hear descriptions of wanting to be ‘more balanced’. It feels more freeing, able to move around, less rigid, and I think that is what we need so much. It feels more grace-giving. Now, this won’t stop me necessarily from using the word balance; however, I think for my own sanity, it is helpful to acknowledge that this does not mean there might not be a struggle, that we can’t feel out of control at times, or that we have to have everything perfect in order to feel a sense that life has balance. That, ultimately would actually make me feel as though life were more unbalanced, ironically—it’s too much pressure. However, acknowledging that balance and harmony are actually synonymous, maybe it is just a thought shift, an assigning of a new definition, that can free us up from the burden it often feels to have to be balanced.
**The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).
The Free Dictionary by Farlex. (2022). Balance. Retrieved from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/balance