To find balance in our lives can
be downright difficult. In so many aspects of daily life, we can feel that we
are wobbling precariously on a tightrope between one extreme and another.
avoid feeling permanently off-kilter, we need to find ways to stay sure-footed
most of the time, or at least develop excellent balance-recovery skills for
when we notice we are teetering.
OPTIMISM vs. DENIAL
While trying to look for the good in
everything, it is important not to start trying to convince ourselves that
certain events, people’s behavior, or circumstances don’t bother us when they
really do. In trying too hard to be positive all the time, we can easily fall
into the trap of pretending that we are ‘fine,’ when we are not.
If we try to smooth over, or
avoid acknowledging, that certain things seriously annoy us, or make us angry,
or sad, or frustrated, or confused, or scared, we are bottling up our emotions,
and this never leads to anything good. Emotions need to be acknowledged,
expressed appropriately, felt, and then ultimately released. If we do not take
the time, and make the effort to process emotions in this way, they will eat
away at our well-being.
NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ARE ALSO IMPORTANT
Having negative emotions and
reactions to events in our daily lives does not mean that we are failing to be
optimistic, or to learn and grow and live joyfully. In fact, our negative
emotions can be very good teachers, and indicators of what areas we need to
work on in our lives and in our selves. Working on, rather than ignoring, these
areas is vital in helping us find balance, and creating a life that works.
Experiencing a whole range of
emotions is part of being human, and the key is to experience them consciously,
not allow them to take control of our whole lives or our reactions. Keeping
things in perspective can help to find balance. Overreacting and under reacting
are equally unhelpful to our well-being.
FIND BALANCE WITH REACTIONS
You may be boiling mad at
something that has just happened, and if this event is a fairly minor
occurrence, such as someone beating you to the parking space that you were
trying to maneuver into, then a few minutes of ranting and raving is justified
and healthy. After those few minutes though, when you have vented your anger,
try to get back to looking at the bigger picture of your life. Dwelling
endlessly on every minor incident that upsets us is just as harmful as
suppressing our natural reactions.
Keep in mind that it is
important to allow yourself the ranting and raving or whatever alternative of
venting works for you. When you are mad, trying to avoid being mad is going to
result in bottled-up feelings. You don’t necessarily have to vent the feelings
at that very moment. If you have your elderly grandmother in the car, perhaps
it would be a good move to hold your tongue until you get home and can rant and
rave freely in privacy.
SUPPRESSING EMOTIONS DOESN'T WORK
Just don’t think that because
you have temporarily suppressed the feelings they have gone away. When we
experience strong reactions, the feelings will be there, waiting to be taken
out and given their chance to be heard. Do it as soon as you can. Get the
feelings off your chest, and don’t give them time to fester.
Unless you are far more
enlightened than I am, telling yourself that the space was not meant for you,
and that the other person somehow needed it more than you did, and trying to
immediately feel happy, loving thoughts towards that person just isn’t going to
To find balance we need to
express, not suppress our emotions, but also let them go once they have been
expressed. This allows us to clear and open our hearts and minds to embrace,
and deal with, the new wonders and woes that will come our way as surely as the
sun rises each day.
People do not always behave in
ways that we can agree with, justify, or even accept, but the trick is to
accept the person without feeling obliged to accept the behavior. If we are
really honest with ourselves, we can even realize that sometimes the selfish,
thoughtless, rotten scoundrel didn’t do anything we haven’t done or wouldn’t do
in certain circumstances. Acknowledging and taking time to understand our
reactions is the vital thing.
Being realistic can be a great
antidote to becoming unbalanced in our reactions to the ups and downs of our
lives. Life is not an either/or experience, nor are happiness and joy all or
nothing. If you notice everything that is going on in your life, you will see
that there are blessings and frustrations, problems and pleasures, dreams and
dramas. You don’t need to go veering wildly from one extreme to another. Be
aware that these events come and go.