Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Straightening Your Leaning Tower

Last week we talked about feeling overwhelmed by life's seeming demands. This week I wanted to confront---gently, of course---the part of our mind that throws us off balance and prevents us from achieving the happiness and success we crave.

You may or may not be a procrastinator, I don't know, but my guess is that there are aspects of your life you avoid, whether they be of a thinking, feeling, or doing nature. The reality is that we humans are thinking/feeling/doing creatures, and if we don't maintain some semblance of balance, we can really be thrown off kilter.

For instance, some of us get immobilized by over-thinking or over-feeling, which can lead to stress, financial issues, illness, etc. Others are impulsive or compulsive doers who avoid thinking about or feeling certain things, as if this habit can effectively starve "negatives" out. That usually doesn't work so well either.

There are other variations on this theme, but suffice it to say that avoiding any major aspect of our life or psyche can get us in a heap of trouble. Despite pop-psychology and -metaphysics (which are often misunderstood), it's very difficult to improve your situation by relying on what amounts to avoidance techniques. (Especially if a monster is already living under your bed!)

What to do about it? Awareness and willingness to see what's really going on and make adjustments, I believe, are the most important factors in remedying the imbalance. Whether you're an over-thinker/under-doer, an over-doer/under-feeler, or some other configuration, it's important to consider that you might have more success or be happier if you shift some of your energy away from the "over" and toward the "under."

Some examples:
  • If being in your head most of the time is causing issues, consider making more time to exercise your body, read a tear-jerker, be with less-intellectual friends, etc. 
  • If you're always on the go and getting things done, replace a couple items on your to-do list with meditation, extra sleep, or enjoying silly-time with your child. 
  • If you're an emotional empath or suffer from over-feeling, you might try immersing yourself in a home improvement project or other productive task, going for a vigorous hike, or watching a fascinating documentary.                                                                                                                                              
The key to bringing balance to a lop-sided situation is to first see it for what it is, and then make meaningful changes. Just because you, your family, gender, culture, ethnic group, etc., have always been a certain way doesn't mean you can't shift, if balance demands it. Otherwise you're likely to keep leaning and leaning until something comes crashing down. And you don't want that.