This is the Ef Zin insight on Balance that you practice and experience in the program “How to Explore Personal Balance“.
Life – hectic, complicated and ever so vague – can feel like the most difficult journey to walk along. We work effortlessly to maintain a certain quality of living that, more often than not, feels forced upon us. As though there were a certain expectation or singular standard we should all work towards. We are constantly pushed and pulled by everyone’s different definitions of that standard; trying to maintain the right amount of work ethic, the right amount of sociability, the right amount of anxiety, the right amount of politeness, the right amount of spontaneity, etc. Constantly tugged left or right, it’s difficult to find personal balance. To find control and the confidence that you are leading the best life for yourself.
In an effort to find personal balance, we organize and quantify all the qualities that make up who we are. But that in itself is an oxymoron. True balance is not found in the quantity of your activities or belongings but in the quality of your behaviors. Lessening your work hours, minimizing your social group or evening out your hobbies won’t offer that deep sense of balance you seek. That is because the issue is not in what you are doing, but how you are being. More specifically, how you are choosing to behave in the details of your everyday.
The behaviors we adopt and repeatedly do are those that come to define us. They shape the way we feel about ourselves as well as others and ultimately influence who we become and what kind of life we live. Aristotle refers to these behaviors as habits. Not in the modern sense of the word where habits express our addiction to coffee or incessant nail-biting, but rather “habit” as in the way we tend to act as a result of our character. In the way we grapple hardships or indulge in pleasures, in the way we are naked in front of conversation or are guarded in the presence of conflict.
Our habitual behaviors reveal details about our true character. It is in these behaviors, then, that we need to find true balance.
To maintain balanced behavior is to act within measure (mesotita) of your character and circumstance. This is a qualitative thinking process of evaluating the nature of your character and that of the situation. It simply means that your behavior is neither in excess nor in deficiency of either factors. You are neither too courageous nor not courageous enough in respect to your personal scale of courage. Nor is your level of courage in excess or deficiency in respect to the needs of the circumstance. The agent here is you. Your path to personal balance and a good life cannot be universally defined; but individually determined.
When you exercise this sense of measure in your small behaviors it translates into your larger choices and even bigger actions. Therefore, the way you converse with a person, influences your choice to befriend them and affects the quality of your friendship. Should your behavior be authentically within measure of your character and aligned with the character of the person before you, you’ll gain a positive outcome. At the very worst, you may realize that you are not meant to be friends – and that, too, is a positive outcome because you can make the evaluative decision to move on to someone of better value to you.
When we explore personal balance, we explore ourselves and develop the qualities of our character. We learn how to recognize their limits and potentials; the extent to which they can be used to fulfill our needs. The extent that our courage can actualize our need to love or the extent that our cowardice can protect our need for security. The extremes of excess and deficiency are destructive, but in measure they are creative. Your qualities, within their varying measures, have the ability to energize you and equip you with the tools to create a meaningful life. That is why you must explore the way you use them in your everyday, so that you can discover their point of measure. So that you may exercise this measure in your behaviors; finding value and meaning in the way you live because your actions and choices are aligned with the real you and your circumstance.
The ways we choose to behave give us the freedom to shape our lives as we deem fit, they are the key to personal fulfillment and happiness.
Having the freedom to choose how we behave is the most important trait we have as human beings to navigate through the experience of living, setting a direction and making the necessary adjustments in maintaining our course. We can keep on course as long as we practice navigating, through the troubled waters of living, and gain wisdom in reading the compass of our true self as well as understanding the whims of nature.
“To feel emotions at the right times, with reference to the right things, towards the right people, with the right purpose and in the right way, is what is both within measure and best…” Aristotle
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