Sep. 9 ’11: Finding and keeping your balance in work/play, parenting, and past/present

Last week I described a technique (“Reciprocal Discomfort”) that can guide us in how to balance life.  You may want to read it before this post, because this week we are going to apply it.   We will survey some of the life arenas in which people can fall out of balance and show how last week’s strategy could help.

Work-life versus personal-life:

  • We are well aware of the basis of the frequent observation that people, later in life, seldom wish that they had spent more time in the office.  This probably also applies in terms of how often one vacuumed the carpet.
  • We have also known people who seem to prioritize personal enjoyment to the point that they let work burdens, whether financial or domestic chores, fall mostly upon other shoulders.
  • Reciprocal Discomfort: If you only feel as if you are neglecting your personal time, then you probably are.  If you only feel as if you are dropping the ball about work, you may well be.  If you feel a little of both kinds of discomfort, that is a good sign.

Hands-on versus hands-off parenting:

  • We know that parents who never give their children (of any age) a chance to try things on their own inspire either rebellion or dependency.
  • Meanwhile, parents who stay completely out of their children’s lives (at any age) seem not to care and leave a lonely vacuum in their children’s hearts.
  • Reciprocal Discomfort: If you only think you are trying to run your children’s lives, you probably are.  If you mostly think that you leave them to sink or swim without you, that is probably happening.  If you feel a little of both kinds of discomfort, your kids may be benefiting from having you there when they need you, while feeling your trust in their own good sense.

Dwelling on the past versus avoiding thinking about it:

  • We have seen people demonstrate the cliche that “analysis is paralysis” by using the past as an excuse for any mistakes that they have made and will continue to make in the future.
  • Yet, we know others who seldom wonder how childhood experience might be still informing their life choices.
  • Reciprocal Discomfort: If you think that you feel imprisoned by dwelling on the past, this is probably happening.  On the other hand, there are two versions of the opposite (avoiding thinking about the past) kind of prison:    Some people think that they are completely free and unaffected by the past, and others just feel too afraid to think about it.  Both are destined to repeat the history that they avoid considering.  Other (balanced) people face the pain of remembering the bad old days, but they also scare themselves by risking new adventures that step outside their comfort zones.   These people feel a bit frightened much of the time, but they are relatively free.

See how this works?  One can apply the same logic to any of the dichotomies of life, such as taking care of oneself  and others, time for adult relationships and time for children, and balancing the material and spiritual  aspects of  life.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 11:34 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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