All About Balance
Life is all about balance and moderation. A personal life coach helps clients find that balance. A healthy individual should always take into account his or her environment, which includes coworkers, friends, and family. In today’s world I typically see two types of clients who haven’t found this balance. There are a lot of needy people who put themselves first and ignore the needs of others (e.g. divorced parents who don’t visit or support their children financially, parents who bring their dates home to spend the night when their children are home, or adults who spend money on frivolous purchases knowing that bankruptcy is inevitable). I also see a disproportionate amount of clients who don’t have a separate life of their own.
Today’s column is for all of the people out there, especially parents, whose lives solely revolve around taking care of others. As you read this column you may not be aware that I am talking about you, because your life is so wrapped up in your children or spouse that it totally feels like your life too.
Could this be you?
Take a look at the following questions and answer them honestly.
1. Do you see yourself as a caretaker? In other words, is your number one role in life to take care of others, which excludes opportunities for you to focus on you.
2. Can you describe your identity? Can you identify personality characteristics about you? (e.g. energetic, fun-loving, caring).
3. Do you know what you like about you?
4. Do you have personal interests separate from your spouse, kids or work? And, do you pursue them?
5. Do you live vicariously through someone else—a successful or needy spouse, your children, your work?
6. Is your life balanced with responsibility, fun, and relaxation? If it centers around responsibility only, you more than likely suffer from “doing too much for others”.
If you answered yes to #1 or 5 or no to #2, 3, 4, or 6, you need to re-evaluate your life, no matter how comfortable it is—because you are likely headed for an identity crisis once the kids leave the nest or your spouse questions the relationship.
There is no time like the present to work on adding some elements of personal growth into your routine, regardless of your circumstance.
Here’s what you can do:
• Sit quietly and ask yourself, what do you like to do?
• What would you do to pursue an interest of yours?
• Do one thing per week to get you closer to that goal.
• Tell someone about your plan. Ask them to check in with you on a regular basis for accountability’s sake.
• Go slow. This will assure that you won’t become “self-interested”.
Your parental role is your first responsibility. However, it should not exclude you from having your own life, knowing and meeting your own needs, and pursuing some of your own interests. It’s important for your sense of self, and it’s imperative that you role model this to your children so they know who you are as a person. The best way to teach your children interdependence is to model it.
This process is about individuating and finding a balance. It can be a very scary place for you to go because it feels unfamiliar, but it’s worth the journey.