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A few weeks ago, I found myself reading Abbie’s guest post for recovering perfectionists (hello, this is me) and she hit the nail so far on the head it split straight through the wood of my soul (dramatic, but true):
“Balance is a code name for that dirty word, perfection.”
Ooof. Perfection. My skin is already crawling.
But she’s absolutely right on the money.
Every article and its mother online paints this completely impractical, nearly fantastical picture of “balance.” We think of balance as this achievable feat that starts with 6 am wakeup for devotional + coffee before the kids are off to school, followed by a productive day of building your buddening empire of a business (which just hit a new revenue goal – go you!), coming home to whip up something Pioneer-woman-worthy right in time for your honey’s arrival home. And your kindergartener is in bed by 8, and you’re unplugged from technology and focused on “us time” by 8:30 for a romantic movie-in-bed kinda wind-down. Heck, you might even squeeze in a facemask, because pores are important and #selfcare.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve written out the *perfect* to-do list for the day, packed with #AllTheThings, for it to come crashing and burning down by 10 am. And then instead of being a Balanced Brittany, I’m a Panicking Priscilla, freaking the freak out that everything is already “off-schedule” and falling to bits and I didn’t even make it to a mid-morning snack.
The problem: the “perfect” to-do list doesn’t exist.
Nor does the perfect day. Or the perfect balance. Or the perfect anything.
Balance, by nature, is perfect. A perfect tightrope walk, lest the scale fall. And we wonder why we feel such pressure + anxiety all the friggin’ time whenever we’re trying to maintain this perfected act? Because it’s not only hard – it’s impossible. I’ve typed it out so much that my fingers are turning blue – balance is a unicorn. Embrace the balancing ACT, knowing + understanding that it’s all just that: an act. So instead of saying we’re clinging to some semblance of “balance” in our lives, let’s cut the crap entirely and call it what it is: UNBALANCE.
It’s time to unbalance the scale.
Balance implies that all things are somehow receiving equal weight. But that, by nature – in this thing called REAL LIFE – is impossible.
Unless someone’s got cloning down pat, we cannot physically be doing multiple things at the same time. We can’t even be THINKING about multiple things at the same time, or we’re scientifically proven to be less productive. So DOING? I mean, nada.
We need to unbalance the scale.
Let some things be more important in some moments than others.
It’s unpractical + illogical to think that we can make it happen for all things all the time. At any given moment, we’re “balancing” all of the different buckets in our life: job, relationship, faith, chores, kids, friends, self. For a mom to be *fully* focused on her kids – she cannot also be fully focused on reconciling the family finances. For a business owner to be *fully* focused on prepping the next launch – she cannot also be writing the daily company blog or catching up on the phone with her girlfriend. If one thing takes, another gives.
It’s the balancing act – or unbalance – of life.
Sometimes, life happens. SH*T happens. On any given day, your perfectly balanced scale could be balancing away and an imaginary, screaming toddler (or heck, a very real screaming toddler) could come barreling through the room, smacking that scale to kingdom come. Attention is needed elsewhere, balance is lost, and all you’re left with is a cuppa coffee that’s a.) cold and b.) all over your shirt.
People get sick. Accidents happen. Spouses fight. Businesses struggle. When the unexpected hits, so too does the reality that balance is but a mystical, glittery unicorn that passes by in our dreams. Trying to plan a balanced life is like trying to plan the perfect life, free from curveballs. Which just…ain’t how this game o’ life works. And the problem isn’t (I think) just in the fact that we’re biologically incapable of multitasking efficiently. I mean, don’t get me wrong – if someone could swear by multitasking, it would be me. But I’d be fooling myself, since science swears I can’t do it. (I’d say “watch me,” but someone somewhere would get a good laugh at my ADD at work…;) )
The problem is in this societal pressure to “be balanced.”
AKA, “be perfect.”
Have it all together. Because if/when you do, the gears will magically click and VOILA – peace + harmony will exist, if only for a moment. And then the moment is gone, and you have to do it all over again.
Y’all, balance is exhausting.
Unbalance, though – unbalance breeds discipline.
By being unbalanced and by acknowledging our unbalance, we’re forced to ACTUALLY PRIORITIZE our lives. We’re forced to say, yannno what? This takes precedence right now. And that takes precedence next. And it is all A-OK.
Unbalance breeds contentment.
Which is kinda ironic, since we’re lead to THINK that this whole “balance” lie is what brings about joy. But NOSIREE. In fact, “balance” brings about dissatisfaction, since it is – once again – impossible to truly grasp. And/or impossible to maintain. Unbalance – and moreso, the *acceptance* of our unbalanced lives as beautiful – allows us to come closer to feelings of contentment in our everyday life instead of constantly thinking/worrying/wondering about how we can/should/might be adding or subtracting to get to some acceptable level of balanced zen.
Unbalance breeds freedom.
Say buh-bye to those feelings of being attached by a lead thread to your planner, lest one thing fall off course and the scales break. Instead, welcome an unbalanced scale with open arms. Because hey – that’s real life, yo! And with that comes the freedom to unabashedly + unashamedly give some things more time than others, justbecause in that moment, that’s what’s needed most.
How can you unbalance the scale this week?
Let’s talk about it. What do you think about balance?
Mystical unicorn? Code word for “perfection”? Or something else entirely?
Happy Monday. Make it happen. Make it count.