What do I mean by “right balance”?

I do not use the term “right” to convey “right or wrong,” as in moral judgment, but my belief is that there is – within oneself, within a dyad interpersonally, and within all the elements, all the “players” and all the considerations within the whole world – a balance that is healthier, more sustainable, and which offers the best possible outcome for all parties (or factors) involved.

My presumption is based on a concept which values the largest possibilities of well-being for all, rather than “everyone for themselves.”

Within oneself, I have the notion that we are the sum of our parts, and those parts of us (as in the IFS, Internal Family Systems, sense of parts) came into being to deal with varying issues to be attended to in life, given that we do interact with the outside world and with others in the world.

From infancy onward, we look outward, we look inward. We give attention outward; we give attention inward. There is probably an ideal balance between those directions of attention. We explore, we withdraw to feel safe.

There is an ability to explore one’s inner life, and there is a (varying) need to attend to what is outside us – is the outside world safe? Unsafe? Supportive of our “going on being”? or are the outer dynamics something we have to accommodate to in order to protect ourselves?

I have just arbitrarily listed several of these areas of attention, as they occurred to me, but I imagine that everyone has their own personal poles that they attend to and need to “balance.” (How much am I giving? How much am I receiving? How much am I working? How much am I playing?)

I also (myself) take as a start-place that for my own well-being that I need to be connected to Nature– and connected to whatever it is that I conceptualize as Spirit (imagination, creativity, inspiration, awe).

And, again, for my own start-place, I find it useful to try to engage with both my left brain (intellect) and with my right brain (creativity, imagery, emotions).
So the “poles” that I look to check, myself, when seeking to be in “right balance,” are topics such as the following:

Intellect —— Creativity
Ability to love —– Ability to be loved
Curiosity — Self-care
Openness to self-experience —- Awareness of surroundings
Adventurousness — Self-compassion
Ability to give —- Ability to receive
Generativity —- Playfulness
Liveliness, vitality —– Ability to relax
Connection to nature —- Connection to Spirit

A friend and colleague helped put these into an image. I experience the image as if spokes of a wheel, and just as bicycle wheels function best when they are balanced, so, for me, I believe that humans function better when “balanced.”

Click to Enlarge

There might be some ways of being in the world that are “shorter” and others that are “longer” – either naturally, in terms of our inborn temperament, or because of adaptation(s) needed to a certain environment.

But it can become a personal self-care practice, a spiritual practice, if you will, to become aware of our different vectors in order to see how we can best express “who we were meant to be.”

For instance, some may have temperaments that lend themselves more naturally to adventurousness, curiosity, liveliness, vitality, self-expression – but ultimately those individuals might be better served if they could “grow” their capacity (even if just a bit) to be still, to be in “receive” mode, at least some of the time.

Or there might be others, say due to trauma backgrounds, had an environmental need to stay small, stay safe, not ask for or expect much for themselves, give too much to others, attend too much to the outer environment, perhaps even in a hypervigilant way – they might be served to develop better capacities (once they are in a safe environment) to resume attention (which might have had to have been aborted early on) to inner awareness, and to expression of their inner beings.

That is what I mean by a “righter balance” within oneself.

IFS (Internal Family Systems) therapy postulates the existence of a “Self,” our “Higher Self” perhaps, from which we can view, witness, experience, feel into and understand our different energies, our different ways of being in the world.

IFS also postulates that it is from the compassion and clarity offered by this witnessing “Self,” we can discover, explore and get to know and work with these energies, so as to discern are they trying too hard, are they in place to protect us, and are the other ends of the poles constricted out of fear?

This modality is one of many practices that can help us discern what “right balance” might be for any of us.

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