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Balance is a tricky concept. What exactly does balance mean, anyway? A quick Google search brings up some definitions including: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady,” or “the stability of one’s mind or feelings.” Another definition I really like is “the ability of a boat to stay on course without adjustment of the rudder.”
In my view, balance is a state of being where no one thing is given too much weight or importance. It’s something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember, as I tend to get super passionate about one thing at the expense of all other things in my life. Sometimes it works out well for me: this blog is an example. I created it in a random state of excitement and passion, and somehow have managed to sustain it as my excitement about nutrition has ebbed and flowed. Other times my passion leads me to spend way too much energy on something to the point where I’ve lost the other parts of myself. Not so good for me.
I’m writing this post today because I had a serious soul-searching weekend. Not to go into too much detail, but I was blindsided by the loss of a relationship, the first one I had ever felt was progressing normally (which it wasn’t). At first I was stunned, and then I was heartbroken. Now, after talking to friends and family, I’m in a state of awareness.
I realize that I have to learn how to cultivate balance in my life, and not give too much of myself to anything: relationships, my career, my fitness, whatever. I tend to throw myself into everything I do with 100% effort, which is not only unnecessary but unhealthy as well. I can’t be spreading myself so thinly all the time. I can’t do everything perfectly all the time.
It’s ok to be good enough.
I have to keep telling myself that as I move on into the next stage of my life. I’ve spent so much time focusing on making my life perfect that I haven’t even enjoyed all the amazing blessings I’ve been given. I deserve to enjoy my hard work and not beat myself up over things that haven’t gone as planned.
It’s funny, I do yoga sometimes and have noticed that I struggle with certain poses more than others. It’s not that I’m not strong enough, or flexible enough, but I believe that my sense of balance is under-developed. In tree pose, one of the most balance-heavy poses, you can’t try too hard to maintain the posture, because too many adjustments cause you to wobble and fall. You have to get into a position that feels good and then just relax your whole body so that you can stay there. Oh yeah… I kind of suck at tree pose.
I think my struggle with tree pose is a good metaphor for my life, since I constantly am trying to micromanage every detail to the point where I end up messing things up because I was trying too hard to control the outcome. I need to just get into a comfortable position and maintain it, and not worry so much about where things are going or if I’m doing everything the right way. Things will happen as they’re meant to, and it’s not a reflection on my performance or my effort. I want to learn how to be okay with the outcome of things, no matter what happens.
Part of my plan to help me on this journey is to get more involved in a faith organization. I come from a Christian family but have not had much opportunity to explore my beliefs, and I’ve been afraid to do so on my own. But I think working on strengthening my relationship with God, and learning to trust that He will lead me in the right direction, will really help me with my anxieties about the future and fear of failure. I know I don’t really speak about religion on this blog, but honestly I do believe in God but struggle with understanding how to bring Him into my life. I guess nothing important is ever easy, right?
I know this was a personal (and pretty heavy) post that has nothing to do with nutrition, but I just felt like writing it. I hope it spoke to some of you – I know there are a lot of people in the Paleo community who want to do everything perfectly and feel like a failure if they don’t. I hope my words help you think about your own personal state of balance, and whether or not you’re letting yourself be happy with being “good enough”. Are you putting in too much effort into your quest for perfect health? Or for a perfect life?
In the end, no one is perfect, and striving towards perfection is a recipe for disaster and unhappiness. I had to have my heart get rattled this weekend to come to this realization. ButI plan to use this experience as a way to re-evaluate my priorities and my overall mindset when it comes to pursuing my goals, dreams, and ideas of happiness. I’m going to try to learn how to relinquish some of the control to “the universe”, and not get so stressed about making my life fit perfectly into my high expectations.
It’s going to be tough, but I’m going to work on it. In the meantime, I hope to stay passionate about nutrition and health without going overboard. Might be easier said than done, but my own health depends on it!
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