There was a time in my life when I felt stuck.
I think it was sometime after a phase of constant sleep deprivation caused by children who didn't realize they should have gotten this sleeping-through-the-night thing down by now.
It wasn't that I didn't like my life, but I felt terribly out of balance. I had lost the connection to me and was stuck as to how to get it back.
Giving your all to your children - or to any person or thing can be rewarding, but the challenge is how to do it without losing yourself. The key is in creating a balanced life. People with balance are able to be better parents, partners, and persons. It begins with making a commitment to yourself to take action to achieve it.
The first step in gaining balance is to start with a look at where you are today. Begin by writing down everything you do in a day and how much time you spend at it. Any surprises?
Next, make a list of your top 5 values - things of fundamental importance. Compare the two lists - are your actions reflecting the values? A balanced life includes a synergy between the two. What can you do today to change this?
Balance is three-dimensional in nature. It includes aspects of mind, body and soul. In order to be balanced you need to have activities which stimulate your intellect, address your physical needs, and support your emotions, values and spiritual needs. Look back at your list of activities and see how this applies to you. Are you neglecting some aspects?
Once you have completed these steps of awareness of where you are, you can utilize the following tools to finesse your state of being.
Language: Watch for the word should in your vocabulary. A should is something that you have taken on which comes from outside of you. It signals a decision point. Your choice is to look and decide if it is true for you and reflects your values. If so, change it to an I will and take the appropriate action. If it doesn't, let it go. Continuing to carry it as a should brings guilt and throws you off balance.
Perception: How you look at things makes a difference on both what you feel about them and how you will act. Try to look at a situation from the viewpoint of someone reviewing your life as a whole. How does this fit in the grand scheme of things? Remember the mantra This too shall pass!
Attitude: Closely aligned with your perception of things is your attitude towards them. I once worked with a woman who felt that she had no life of her own, that all she did was for her family. When she looked at what she did in relation to her values, she found a strong match. She was able to change to an attitude of gratitude which helped her to feel more serene and balanced.
Positive/Negative: Take a look at your list of activities and note if you consider them to be a positive or negative thing. Reducing time on negative activities or increasing activities which reflect your values adds to greater balance.
The bottom line is that it is all up to you. You have the power and ability to take actions to change your life, to achieve the balance that leads to greater serenity and increased productivity. Taking one small step, changing one action or activity will move you in the direction you desire to a reconnection with the real, wonderful you!
About the Author...
Janet Neal, Monclair, NJ, USA