Finding Balance

Handstand, BalanceIn comparison to words like terror, horror, pain, happiness, elation, love, the word balance is not the most evocative one.

In truth, however, it’s probably one of the most important words in our life. Attaining balance is the key to happiness, love and elation, and the antidote to terror, horror and pain.

It’s such a hard place to arrive at – that place of balance. In order to do so we must face a scary and sometimes terrifying journey – the journey that takes us to our core, demons and all.

Sometimes the demons actually seem easier to accept than the beauty within us. How easy has it to become to believe that we are all the terrible things we have accumulated in our emotional storage unit? I am unlovable, I am selfish, I am a screw-up, I am an awful person.  It’s easier to accept the bad things we have done than the good things. Why do we brush those off so easily?

We may have done things in our lives that we are not proud of but in order to find happiness and love we need to find a way out of the terror, horror and pain. To do that we need to stop misbalancing reality by weighting our internal scales of judgement so firmly on the side of the negative by weighing each unacceptable thing we have done a thousand times more heavily than each loving, kind or compassionate thing that we have done.

We need to find that balance in order to succeed on the human quest for for love, connection and meaning. It is the essence of the human journey and can be rewarding, albeit scary if not downright terrifying. Yet, it is always our driving force.

It seems clichéd but it is true, until we find self-love how can we learn to accept others’ love and consequently the connection and meaning our lives require?

It seems so much easier to love others than to love ourselves, or to accept love. There are so many wonderful people in this New Life community who have suffered a lot of pain that it is impossible for your heart not to go out to them. But balance also includes love of self in conjunction with the love of others; a balance between care for others and care for self.

This has been a difficult lesson for me throughout my life. I had given such enormous weight to negative beliefs about myself that any good beliefs were so light that they were almost imperceptible.

As such, I felt my only worth was what I could do for others, what I could offer them: money, guidance, wisdom learned from the endless self-help books hungrily and desperately consumed. But friendship is about balance, giving and taking. When all there is on one side is giving, it doesn’t remain a friendship.

My lesson is that a balanced friendship is one filled with laughter, fun, love and connection as well as open, honest talks, a shoulder to lean on and hopefully some words of wisdom – from both parties.

It’s also learning when to take a step back, for the most loving thing to do is to allow someone to work it out for themselves – to do it for them would be a purely temporary fix. A daily reflection from the big book (Alcoholics Anonymous) last night highlighted how helping ourselves and overcoming our own fears can demonstrate the path for others to do the same on theirs. Showing that successful resolution is possible breeds hope and inspiration. So it’s again about balancing helping with allowing people to take the baby steps and tumbles by themselves while being there to offer reassurance and encouragement.

It’s a continuous journey, the search for this balance, and it is one that can only be achieved by ourselves. Nevertheless, it is not one we can undertake on our own. We still need a helping hand on that road, guidance in the right direction, and for that I will be eternally grateful to my beautiful New Life family.

Tools have come from the workshops, and guidance and support from the coaches. So much wisdom, love and inspiration has come from the community. It is there that I have found some very special people for whom I will be eternally grateful for encountering on my path; courageous souls who, in facing their own demons, helped me face mine.

There are those I care deeply about who have shown me what love looks like and who are helping me learn how to accept it through their generosity of spirit, compassion and patience. There are also those who have lightened my load with insightful feedback and just random conversations during which, through their honesty and courage to be open, I have found my corn of gold, a clue to my path out of suffering.

The road is long but the milestones towards recovery are passing. I am truly blessed and grateful. Thank you.

–LM

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