Again. Because I seem to lose and find my balance over and over and over.
It never ends.
Last week I reached the place I land on occasion where I feel like a failure at most of life. I was sitting there, wallowing there in miserableness, and desperate to do something to change my mindset and pull myself out of it.
This time I made a list. Of all the areas where I’d deemed myself a failure.
The list was long. I stared at the list and I started trying to process what to do with that information.
I needed to sort these things out, and I did it by asking myself a few questions:
What is just not true?
I’m hard on myself. I treat myself with the “three strikes and you’re out” approach. I don’t cut myself slack, and once I spiral down the “I’m crummy” tube, it’s hard for me to turn back. So some of these areas actually were not failures, but perceived failures I’d quickly created in my mind as a result of feeling inadequate in other areas. I took a hard look at which things were really not failures, spoke truth to myself and removed them from the list.
What things could I delegate to someone else?
Some things I was failing at because I’m not good at them or have no motivation to do them. These are the things that need to be outsourced. This is something I needed to do both in my work and in my home. At home, I found more things to delegate to my children. In an effort to prove I could handle working additional hours outside of the home, I had been expecting too much of myself at home. I was actually taking on more of the household chores than was good for my kids.
What activities are life-giving to me and therefore necessary in my schedule?
Some things that are a part of who I am (like writing) are an outlet for me. If I’m not making time for my outlets, I am not emotionally in the right place to do all that I need to do. I need to do the things that bring me joy. I need to be pursuing big dreams. So I have to find at least a little time for those things in each week, or I will lose part of myself. And I’m just not willing to do that.
What things do I need to let go of?
A wise friend told me that things that we do and are a part of us can change in different seasons. Just because I made cupcakes with homemade icing as a mom of elementary kids doesn’t mean that I have to do it now. It doesn’t mean that I’m a failure if I don’t do it now. I do other things now that I didn’t do then, and something has to go. It’s okay to do and be different things in different seasons.
What things are important for me to work on?
Once I weeded out all these other areas, there were only two things left on the list of “Failures” that had started out with 12 things. Sure, there were legitimately some areas that I needed to work on. Some areas that I couldn’t excuse away or farm out to someone else or be okay with eliminating from my life. But after this process, the list was short and much more manageable than what I started with.
Life is a great balancing act. Just when I find my balance is about the time I’ll lose it again. Sometimes I veer off in the same direction, revisiting old patterns. And other times I completely flop in a new direction.
Finding balance is a constant struggle that will never go away. Learning some strategies to assess the situation and make changes in the right direction can help restore balance. Even if only for a little while!