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What is “balance” anyway?

I’ve spent a long time contemplating the concept of “balance” and I’m not so sure I want to sign up for making that my priority in life. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about happiness or stress management without hearing about it. Our society habitually associates achieving peace with striking a balance among all our obligations and desires.

But what is balance anyway? Inherent in the word is a concept of sacrifice or compromise. For me, the archetypal image of a scale immediately comes to my mind and so inevitably, I know that in order for one side to be realized something has to give on the other side. But who wants that?

I’m of the camp that you can have it all. No need to give up anything in order to be really good at or devoted to something else. Here’s why: all that exists is right now. All that I am is who I be, right now. The past is gone and the future is an idea, reality is only in the present moment. In this moment, I can choose to think, say, and do exactly as I want. There are so many roles I play that make me me, but I believe that it’s the melding of all of it determined by my personal context that makes me happy – not some idea that I’m “balancing” these roles like a juggler on a tightrope. I love the idea that I’m a devoted mother finishing grad school while making media appearances for my husband’s career. I love that I am super duper health nut and a crazy foodie that spares no expense, all at the same time. I don’t have to balance my personality by showing parts of one role through another, and I don’t have to find moderation on either side if I get immense pleasure from the extremes – why not immerse myself in complete abandon to whatever my heart is inspired to? In each moment, I’m present to what my attention is on and I call upon all aspects of me to play it out. One can argue that by doing this, I’m actually balancing my life by engaging in whatever parts of me get activated – that my full range of experience and roles is a balancing act in and of itself. I argue that while it could be looked at that way, I choose not to hold this view. Rather than say that I strive to achieve a balance in my life, I affirm that I can have it all in every moment. While it may appear to some that I’m committing a balancing act, I’m hardly sacrificing anything on either side of the symbolic scale. And it’s in this thinking that I feel full, rich and completely uncompromised. That, to me, is anything but balance and everything I could possibly want.


Amy Eliza Wong is a life coach, writer, and speaker in the Sacramento, CA area committed to helping people figure out what makes them tick so they can finally live with joy and real purpose. Learn more about working with her.

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