T H E A L L U R E O F B A L A N C E
This week’s feature breaks down the balance that so many of us crave. Is balance a myth or not? Some teachers say yes, and some say no. At the end of the day, the interpretation rests solely on you and how you define it. Let’s look at some scenarios, and you can decide.
[quote author=”Michael Singer”]Life is a natural unfolding of reality. You’re supposed to harmonize and work with it. You don’t give up and let it take over.[/quote]
I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone put the crux of life in such eloquent, yet simplistic form. Seriously, can we just read that quote a few more times?
One of the great arguments of all time is about balance. There’s work-life “balance” in the corporate world. There’s the supposed balance between parenting and working full-time, chemical balance in the brain, and pH balance. If we look or listen hard enough, there’s plenty of things that require balance or appear to need it to function.
I’m calling it the allure of balance. The attraction factor it carries draws us in, and make us feel like it’s attainable.
Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t.
About two years ago, I jumped on the “balance is a myth” bandwagon, without giving any real thought or research into what it could really mean in my life.
Earlier this year, I went through a course that opened my eyes to this beautiful metaphor. I became very attracted to it, and I’d like to introduce you to how I see it now, in my life and work, and how I refer to it here, for the conversation we have on this blog and in The Introvert Effect community.
“Balance includes ideas of equilibrium, adjusting, maintaining or offsetting forces, and things as they should be. People express psychological imbalance when talking about being out-of-sorts, feeling off, and they talk about balance as being centered, feeling at peace, comfortable in their own skin, inner-stability, whole, complete, in touch with true self.” –Tami Smith
Wow – I could read that over and over because it feels really calming.
If your quest is anything like mine, you’re deepest desires flow out of paradoxical thinking and existence.
This is what it sounds like:
“I need creative outlets to express more, but I want to keep my ideas protected and safe.”
“I love the idea of freedom to choose, but I desire an identity that allows me to be more fixed & centered.”
“I have a really strong individual quality, but at the same time, I get tired of feeling so freaking different all the time – I’d like to find a way to see myself more like others.”
Here’s a new idea for you: We gain balance by being out of balance.
What that means is that we all have these paradoxical inner conflicts – wanting two seemingly different things at once in equal intensity. That said, we have to embrace and sit with both sides of the conflict, in order to feel the balance we’re craving.
There is a rhythm needed to be a calm, rooted introvert. The only way to create the ebb and flow is to first, know yourself, then to honor that self. Honor the whole entire experience, instead of continuing a feeble attempt of pushing down your inner critic, negative self-talk, or ideas.
What you resist will truly persist, so let’s look at 3 of the most common paradoxical scenarios that exist in the introvert’s life, and let’s learn together how to embrace both sides to find that rhythm we’re all searching for (but sometimes aren’t willing to admit we want).
I. Emotional Balance
In my new service for introverted women, The Introvert Effect Architecture, I take you through a teaching and we talk about emotional reaction. It’s a 12 minute audio that actually teaches you what happens in the brain when an emotion is triggered.
Basically, what it comes down to is a choice – to choose the rational or the emotional. And most of the time, introverts will choose the emotional over the rational. A lot of introverted women tell me they want to be less emotional reactive – “why do I get so angry?” or “why does it affect me so much, Tamisha?” “Why does it take me days to recover from one hurtful word someone may not have even meant?”
There’s two things I’ve learned that have greatly served me and helped me be less emotional reactive, which I used to struggle with a whole lot.
1. Patience. I have discovered by trial and error that if I will just wait a few days, something about what I experienced will change. Either my desire to react will subside (and I’ll realize how over-reactive I was being) or that person will obviously treat me different and I’ll know it really was just me. But almost always, I experience a shift in perspective as a direct result of patience-at -work (and somedays, I still just fail miserably). Just take that calming breath and step away – see how different you feel in a few days. Sometimes you’ll even feel different in a few hours.
2. Choose the Rational Brain. Once you go through The Introvert Effect program, you’ll more understand how you can go about choosing the rational brain. It is a conscious choice you make, once you understand the difference in how the rational operates vs. how the emotional operates. At a basic level, it means choosing to step back and completely look at the situation you’re in from a higher perspective. There are some criteria involved, but at its most basic, this is what it calls for.
The balance & rhythm however, comes from embracing both – the rational and the emotional. Reviewing both, then making your choice. Not just reacting to what you feel.
II. Individuality & Team Playing
Another scenario we endure is the dreaded “team building” or “team playing” we are often forced to encounter as a result of work; working for a corporation or any company.
But this isn’t the only form team playing comes in. It’s being a member of a family, with different personalities and opinions on life, it’s being a member of a church or other religious organization, it’s being someone in the bookstore or the grocery store.
You know, we can say we fly “solo” all day long, but the truth is, we are never really alone. We just don’t get anywhere without others.
Think on this: even if I sit down to read a good book, that’s an author’s words I’m spending time with – my receptors are taking it all in, and I’m spending time with someone else’s ideas. In that moment, I’m a team player. I have purchased a book and someone else has written it. Together, we just created something – many things. Camaraderie, a learning environment, an economy, profit, a piece of legacy, royalties….the list goes on.
So in all our individuality, let’s remember to embrace both what we bring to our identity roles as a result of who we are, and how, even in being ourselves, we are contributing.
In the book scenario, I get to be completely me, while knowing I am a part of something bigger. And if you will start looking for it, you’ll see this in all of your individuality too. It’s everywhere. By being ourselves, we create beautiful rhythm in our introversion. There’s no need to isolate, cut out what you have to offer, or stifle your ideas. You don’t have to give up who you are to be a team player.
Are you feeling good? Let’s move to another scenario:
III. Self-Expression & Restraint
Without self-expression, our worth is unconfirmed. We don’t feel free or valid if we aren’t accepted for who we are, what we think, or how we deliver our ideas out into the world. Ultimately, my business serves the woman who needs this more than the average person – she’s a woman who has value to add, but she struggles sharing it for fear of that rejection or misunderstanding.
Herein lies the rub – do I restrain or express? Do I speak up or stay silent? What is the rhythm?
I understand this pendulum – sometimes I will post something on Facebook only to delete is 5 minutes later. My head takes over – “it’s too much – they won’t get it – delete it – that’s too strong, Tamisha – why would you post that?” Trust me, I understand the ping pong match with self-expression and restraint.
My ebb and flow with these two has come from experience and understanding the variables involved:
- The people around
- The atmosphere (jolly, heavy, intense, or awkward)
- The time of day
These are the variables I consider. And in using your intuition like a pro, you’ll start to get more astute to your own rhythm regarding these variables – when it’s appropriate to speak up and when it’s okay to wait. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes several experiences with these different variables to really establish the balance you want so badly.
At the end of the day, when you define balance like we did at the beginning of this article, it’s allure changes. We don’t want it because some teacher tells us we should or research shows it. We want it because we can clearly see how it serves us in life, love, relationships, and in our work.
Let’s chat now…
1. Which one of these can you identify with the most?
2. How can you take action to use one of the above to create the balance you’re wanting in your world – I’d love to know and I’m sure someone else can relate…
I can never say enough how much I enjoy you reading & being here. I hope to talk with you in the comments.