Balancing the Unbalance

The many compartments we continuously seek to balance in life are not always balanceable.




Balancing lifes many compartments is a constant struggle, it takes patience and it takes resilience and sometimes it is simply impossible. Everyone becomes challenged with the quandary of balancing various components of life in one way or another.


The word “balance” implies the physical containment of various objects that were previously in motion and are properly placed in relation to each other. If we stick with that physical analogy, much like a pile of boxes that are on top of one another that appear stabilized, our mental/emotional/spiritual balance takes much exertion. Not only does balance take time and effort, but it also takes an awareness of the reality of the objects you are trying to coordinate.


When we tell ourselves that we can balance every detail of our life, we are lying. The truth is, some compartments can’t be contained easily. Some shifts in schedule, relationships and emotions can’t be balanced. It is important to realize that life doesn’t need to be organized in a way that looks finished. The process of balancing all that sits before us is in essence “enough.” Being present to what exists is sometimes the only way to really find balance.


As we acknowledge that most of life is about tolerating the unbalance, we learn to let go of an expectation that doesn’t serve us. Be aware of what components in your life need balancing and then upon taking stock of those items, let yourself be the balance you are seeking.




I often ask my clients the question: “whose job is it to validate you?” Without fail, the answer I always receive is “me.” And it is resoundingly true, it is no one else’s job to validate you but you. Only I can validate who I am, where I’m going and where I’m at.




We often judge ourselves based on the social norms we see around us. We compensate for our weakness by seeking to emulate desirable traits we see around us. Seeking validation is normal, it’s part of being human, however; sometimes we place too much value on the validation of others. By seeking validation we do ourselves more damage than good because we deny ourselves the process of starting from a place of authenticity. Instead, when we desire the validation of others we open ourselves to judgement and criticism that is not valid and that does not promote a healthy sense of self, nor a healthy sense of who others really are.


When we see ourselves as worthy, we can then see the worthy parts of others. When we choose to judge ourselves and speak critically of ourselves, we fall into a pattern of being critical of others. The relationship with have with ourselves parallels the types of relationships we are capable of having with others. We create connection with others based on the type of connection we have with ourselves.


The world is made up of a series of choices, all of which can be assessed by various levels of introspection. The way we look at ourselves and the way we are critical with ourselves or not, determines the outcome of these unending series of decisions. We show up for ourselves in varying ways, and when we show up for ourselves with the purpose of being “normal” and/or acceptable in the eyes of others, we do ourselves a disservice. When we operate from a place of authenticity, we see the fullness of the human experience and develop a deeper capacity to be intimately connected with those around us.

A very simple concept that most people have heard before is this, “you are not your emotions.” It’s a basic tenet of emotional regulation; you are not your sadness you are simply experiencing your sadness, you are not your anxiety you are only witnessing the anxiety occur. We are observers not victims to our thoughts and feelings.


Experience is impermanent, thoughts come and go and they are impermanent. Look at all the sadness and the bliss and the boredom and the frustration. It eventually will all go away. The nature of experience is that all feelings show up and then they eventually fade away. Whatever comes into your life you have already allowed otherwise it wouldn’t be there.





The ability to take note of the distance that exists between you and your emotions is the key to experiencing a peaceful of mind. If we make it a priority to pay attention to our relationship with our thoughts and feelings we can begin to rehearse on a daily basis how to pause in challenging moments. When we highlight for ourselves that we are not all of the emotions happening to us, that we do not embody and represent depression and anger, we can then begin to distance ourselves from uncomfortable moments that might otherwise consume us.


Jeff Foster uses a metaphor to explain how to conceptualize our relationship with our thoughts. He invites everyone to picture themselves as the ocean with depth and layers, saying that our consciousness is like the ocean and our thoughts, sensations and emotions are the waves of the ocean. Even the most intense human feelings: anger, frustrations and confusions can be tolerated. These waves of emotions can appear in the ocean that you are and not define you. The waves are not against you, they are not your enemy, they are not imperfections but they are movements of yourself, they belong in you. So, if who you are is consciousness then thoughts and feelings are also movements of consciousness.


The ocean accepts all of its waves. The fact that a certain wave is present is proof that you can already contain it and tolerate it. Try to view sensations as waves constantly coming and going, disappearing and appearing all on their own. Notice thoughts appearing, memories, wants, pictures, sensation in this moment and stop to take a look at the distance that exists in the ocean that we are.