Creating a Balanced Being
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
I like to think of our inner structure as a series of toggles that are set in a particular way depending on who we are, what we learned and what we do. I use toggles in this mental image, because I believe that we can tap into previously unused skills, abilities and even ways of being in order to achieve a healthy balance that will lets us go beyond our expectations of ourselves.
This is what I call: Creating a Balanced Being.
Let me clarify my choice in wording.
When I say creating a balanced being, I do not mean becoming a monk and meditating 24/7 and practicing yoga on every other moment of the day (although doing all that in any amount CAN be enriching for you).
What I do mean by 'creating a balanced being' is: to consciously and actively expand your access to a given spectrum, so you can have a more fulfilling experience in your life. Sounds good enough doesn't it? However, it is not a magical concept, so it is not just "Will it to create it". If anything, it is more of a "Will it AND WORK IT, to create it". It will require you to do some practicing on your unused/hidden/forgotten skills so as to complement your already existing virtues (yes, you have them). It is possible to be both flexible and rigid; as much as it is possible to be results-oriented and laid-back. Not necessarily at the same time, but there is definitely value in having access to a broader range of the spectrum.
For this concept, I would like to draw from an item that comes from Taoism, which in turn is part of Chinese culture. This concept is the very famous, but not always understood: Yin-Yang. The Yin-Yang is more than just opposites and opposites within opposites. It carries a particular powerful wisdom about balance that can be observed in its depiction. The Yin holds the Yang in place and the Yang holds the Yin in place. So much so that we cannot have one without the other, and even in the presence of one, there needs to be a certain balance of energies, attitudes and actions.
“Okay, so how does this work into my day-to-day life?”
The concept of balance as a form of accessibility to distinct ways of being and skills translates to our own results in life. What we excel at will be met with powerful results; what we are still not very masterful at will probably be met with not so powerful results. It is not hard science and it is not always directly proportional. However, if we take a closer look at ourselves, we will some correlation with this and an opportunity to chisel ourselves to a higher potential.
To make my point clearer, I want to showcase a couple of hypothetical (and exaggerated) scenarios, so that you can get an idea of what imbalance looks like and what a balanced being would be about. However, before I do that, just a reminder to keep the mental image of our inner-being being comprised of toggles. Our ways of being and abilities are not set in stone. They are malleable. Perhaps not as malleable as when we were kids, but malleable still. They can be worked on.
Hypothetical Scenario A:
Let us imagine that you grew up in a home where accomplishments were the only emotional currency. You quickly learned (usually unconsciously) that by getting an A+ at school meant receiving love or attention or even just recognition from your parents and teachers. At home, questions would only be about qualifications and grades other than an A or A+ would be met by either indifference or disappointment. Expectations were always high and recognition was always scarce. You would go above and beyond just to stay on the top, so that at home you could receive love, attention and praise even if only a little.
The result, after years of this learned pattern, you became an A+ student everywhere you went: middle school, high school, undergrad, post-grad and eventually at work. A lot of times you chose to prioritize study time and professional development over other activities. Perhaps even choosing to opt out on situations that would distract you from the top priority that was measuring your own value through your grades.
Fast-forward to the present day and you are a hard working successful individual. You are earning a six-figure salary, you have a wonderful family, you HAVE everything that you ever wanted, BUT you somehow feel unable to connect with your kids other than by contrasting their results with your expectations. It is your way of showing them love as you learned it, but you see how the message is not always understood. You notice that they often feel pressured by your words instead.
On the other hand, you also realize that although you love your job, you somehow cannot escape work, or rather... work cannot escape you. You notice that it has been ages since you fully enjoyed some time off without being completely invested in work in one way or another.
In the previous scenario you trained yourself and your body to DO-DO-DO, which in and of itself is a wonderful thing. You have created so much and have countless results under your belt. HOWEVER, somewhere along the line you forgot to not take things too seriously, you forgot to make time to rest and relax, to choose to do nothing, maybe even for just a couple of hours. You forgot to take things slow and to enjoy mistakes.
Here is where creating a balanced being comes in.
It is not about rejecting the part of you in which you excel; it is about balancing it out with another virtue. In the scenario, this energy of resolve that you have helps you to achieve great results and to remain consistent with your goals, but on its own you cannot appreciate the small things or find some time to relax. So in order to complement it, you start working on your ability to slow down, loosen up and enjoy the moment. You still keep working hard when you need to and also get to unwind and enjoy yourself when you can and choose to. So that you can still challenge your kids to improve their results, while helping them navigate at their own pace and accepting who they are and that what they are offering is valuable despite your own expectations for them.
Hypothetical Scenario B:
Let us imagine that you grew up in an overprotective home with parents who helped you out in whichever way they could. They would always tend to your needs, even when you could do things on your own. They went out of their way to ensure you had everything you needed and more. Even deciding what is best for you, because it was their way of showing their love for you.
Fast-forward to the present day and many years have passed, but you find that you are overly cautious about making your own decisions. You prefer to wait for others’ opinions to form your own, and you are even relieved when someone else makes a decision for you. You also find that it is easier for you to adapt to what is needed than it is to take charge of an action/project. It is also easy for you to work with others, but you rely on others’ leadership to move forward most of the time. You are really good at listening to others, but you have trouble communicating discomfort and standing up for yourself.
In this scenario you learned to accommodate to others, to be adaptable and cautious. However, what you did not learn was how to voice your ideas, concerns and presence; how to take chances. You have the virtue of being adaptable and listening to other people, but you are lacking the virtue of taking risks and leading both yourself and others.
This would be a work of integrating leadership and fine-tuning your decision-making, while still remaining a good listener and being flexible to others' ideas. For lack of better phrasing, it is getting the best of both worlds.
Summarizing both hypothetical scenarios, creating a balanced being means HONORING the virtues you possess and COMPLEMENTING them with new learned skills that will expand your possibility of success.
Now, let us be clear that creating a balanced being, does NOT only happen internally. Revisiting South-East Asian wisdom once more in the Yin-Yang: balance is about complementing features to create harmony. Both the INTERNAL and the EXTERNAL need to portray this expansion for there to be an adequate balance. The internal, in the way that we look at things and respond to life; and the external, in the way that our actions become more efficient and aligned with a given task/goal.
In closing this article, I do want to mention that everything in life is like a dance, so do not expect to suddenly become an enlightened, infallible, perfect being that is their best self always. I believe no human being is ever perfect like that. Falling is part of the dance as much as getting up is. Creating a balanced being is not about becoming perfect, but rather about rekindling your commitment to the ACTION of creating, recreating AND recreating a balanced being consistently so that you can constantly meet yourself in a wider range of possibilities. Creating harmony for your life, instead of just expecting it to happen.
The views expressed in this article are not to be taken as hard truths, but rather as flexible guidelines. These views are merely personal conjectures based on my own experiences, my coaching background and/or existing coaching theorems.
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