I have found when talking to anyone that is struggling with dissatisfaction that there is often a problem of imbalance in their lives. They poured every ounce of their effort into a relationship that eventually dissipated, or they used all their emotional and financial resources to get ahead at their job just to look around and find themselves yearning for a life partner, or they gave up their whole identity to raise their children, who suddenly want nothing to do with them, and a friend or job is not to be found. We live lives of utter imbalance. This is not to stay that a stay at home mom cannot enjoy parenting instead of a corporate career or that a career woman must get a man or be depressed. What we need to recognize is what each one of us holds as our true needs and what our balance should be.
Mandatory reading for my job at one time was the book Juggling Elephants. An entire book dedicated to the idea that we sustain a lifestyle that doesn’t allow us overall satisfaction, let alone happiness. The book goes on to tell you that you simply have to give each part of your life the attention it is due.
Are you a career badass that desires a partner but hasn’t gone on a date in months? Balance that out! Are you a stay at home mom that desperately wants to work on a kick-ass program and watch it succeed? Balance that out! Are you a girlfriend who wants to feel like more than just half of a relationship? Balance that out!
Clearly if it were as easy as that, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this position so often. How on earth do we end up imbalanced to begin with? Often, it’s because we go after low-hanging fruit. An intelligent person with a knack for training and a great handle on office politics, that person gets easy satisfaction by excelling at their job. Then they add a little more effort and garner a promotion. Give it a bit more, and there’s an opportunity to travel the world on behalf of the company. Suddenly that person finds themselves traveling five out of seven days a week and is never rooted long enough to find a mate like they planned to back when they started that job. So what to do? HOW do you balance it out?
1) Recognize the different areas of your life. Work, relationships, and self. Also recognize that they should be of fairly equal importance.
2) Time study yourself – Four days in a row, say Fri-Mon, write out what you are doing/thinking about and for how long. Spend 3 hours daily texting your man? Eight hours at work plus another two thinking about it? Write it all down.
3) Take this information and sort it out. What goes under the Work category? Relationships? Self? Are you seeing a pattern? I know I did.
4) Get rid of as many things as you can in your over-full category. Don’t text your boyfriend three hours each day. Call or meet up with him after work for an hour instead. Don’t spend your whole weekend Pinning things and reading in your pajamas. Make a date with your sister to actually MAKE one of those damn crafts. You see where I’m going with this.
5) Make goals and track your new balance. Getting out of our comfort zone is usually a pretty anxiety filled endeavor. So make a plan. Send out a calendar invite to your sister, don’t just tell yourself you’ll get around to asking her. Have a sit-down with the boyfriend telling him you are going to focus more on moving up at work and won’t be texting during the day. Then lock that phone in a drawer. Tell your boss that you are interested in local job opportunities and ask her to keep you in mind for them. Just take action! When you try your time study again, it should look more balanced.
Balance is key to finding happiness. You wouldn’t want to only eat chocolate cake for the rest of your life. Eventually you’d think, “I would kill for a carrot right now!” So don’t allow your life to become so one dimensional. It’s not about “having it all.” It’s about not being consumed by one thing. Be multi-faceted, friends.