Can you recall a time in which you suddenly realized you were relentlessly trying to shove a square peg into a round hole? I’m sure you can – we’ve all been there. Remember that moment of clarity when you stopped and thought, “what am I doing?”or “what does this accomplish?” or “is it even worth it?”. It’s those moments that typically result in a massive mindset shift that allow us to move ourselves forward in big ways.
Most recently for me, it was the moment I realized – or decided – that the concept of ‘balance’ is complete bullshit.
It’s feels like forever that I’ve been so focused on achieving this ‘life of balance’. Continually imagining a perfect scale – no side too heavy, everyone happy. It was the goal, the dream, the life I wanted to live. I thought “people who have balance have it all figured out”.
When I would think of personal development goals, or areas of my life to improve upon – balance was always at the front of that list. Everything I felt that I needed started and began with achieving better balance. To my core, I honestly believed it was the key to the kingdom.
Lord help me, I was so wrong.
ironically enough, my quest for balance was causing me imbalance
As I would start to feel over capacity, I would focus on bringing myself back to balance. I would look at everything that required my attention and I would sit and think how I could provide each area of my life with the same love, attention, and patience as the other. My child, my husband, my home, my friends, my family, my job, MYSELF. Everyone needed something and in my mind – not delivering was a failure.
As I continued to ride the waves, each day wondering if I was any closer to achieving balance, I found myself just feeling completely depleted. There were truly moments where I felt that I had nothing left to give, but I had to dig deep to find it anyways because I love my people, I love my job, and I want to love them all and give them everything I had and a little bit more.
i bleed green – and thrive in structure
If you’re into personality tests – which, I am – you may be familiar with the Full Spectrum Personality Colors Quiz (if you haven’t, go take it). Based on this test, I bleed green.
I find serenity in planning and processes. I find comfort in facts and organization. So, naturally, the concept of balance was really appealing to me. I was totally and completely convinced that balance was the ultimate freedom.
but eventually, you run out of gas
Summer came and went, and along the way but I lost a bit of my ambition. I lost the vision of the life I wanted for myself and my family. I didn’t know what step to take next, and I was so afraid of losing balance. Paralyzingly afraid. So much so, I found myself doing nothing.
And then that nothing led to feelings of failure, which led to more nothingness because the concept of “reviving myself” in a way that felt so public seemed so – overdone.
I was literally pounding my brain with “what ifs” and “hows” and what felt most paralyzing was – “what will they all think?”. As if addressing the momentary loss of footing was bringing attention to it, and that felt like the ultimate slap in the face.
and then i realized i was the one doing the slapping
One morning on my drive to work, I was listening to my favorite podcast, Boss Up! by Lindsey Teague Moreno. I honestly cannot remember what episode it was but I remember only halfway listening – my mind was somewhere else – but she said “balance isn’t real”. And she got ALL of my attention.
One of my favorite leaders is dumping on my life’s driving force?!
Balance isn’t real.
To be honest, it didn’t sit well with me at first. I was slighted. I was dumbfounded how that concept was even imaginable. And while I kept trying to shrug it off, it kept creeping back into my mind…
Balance. Is. Not. Real.
why balance doesn’t make sense
In this podcast, Lindsey spoke that in life, balance isn’t real. Something is going to suffer at the expense of another thing thriving. Maybe it’s your fitness, maybe it’s your house, maybe it’s your relationships…something has to give.
We have 24 hours in a day and if you expect ‘balance’ then everything that needs a slice of you should carved out equally.
That is when you become spread too thin. That is when you start to run out of capacity. That is when you start to lose your shit because you are literally running from one thing to another, grazing it all but not really focusing on anything or anyone. You’ve checked all your boxes, everything has been touched, and you’re in perfect balance…except you’re really not.
I don’t know about you but I would spend so much time “trying to balance myself” that the things I needed to do were only getting partially or poorly done, only to cause more work later. I “spent time” with my people but I wasn’t spending time with them. I was only grazing the surface.
And it’s bullshit. The idea that balance is obtainable and admirable is total BS. And it felt so good to realize that.
time to check my ego at the door
It wasn’t a quick mindset change. I’m still not 100% there. But, I really had to let my ego go on this one, and I was hanging on tight.
I had to redefine my idea of perfect. I also had to redefine my idea of balance. I am even redefining the vision I had for myself as a wife, mother, friend, and leader.
What I have realized is that balance in life doesn’t have to look so literal. We aren’t a textbook, we are people – and we have the ability to be flexible and write our own rules. So why are we forcing this balanced, perfectly-angled square peg into this wobbly and crooked hole and who are we doing it for anyways? Because let’s be honest, it isn’t for ourselves – and it isn’t for our families.
We can have balance, but balance doesn’t have to mean all things are equal. Sometimes balance may mean I get one less blog post out a month so that I can spend quality, intentional time with my family. On the other note, balance might look like a little less time with my people so I can achieve my personal goals. It might mean not squeezing in that yoga class so that I can have dinner with my friends. And it might look like ignoring it all, sitting on the couch, and scrolling facebook for hours so I can have a mindless evening.
So, while I do think we can achieve our individual ideas of balance – I think we need to be a little more realistic about what that looks like during each season in our life. I think it needs to be more about grace and less about perfection. I think it needs to be more about purpose and less about image.
And in the end, it’s okay to lose balance, or to never obtain it at all.