I usually find “Balance” a difficult word, quite frankly. Because often, in life you have very little balance. And IF you DO have balance, you will have lost it before you know it! It dissipates. It slips between your fingers…
Often the balance-related terms are thrown at us with the speed of light: meditate, take your rest, take care of ‘me-time’, take a balance day with food, be moderate with practically everything in life and above all: ‘take care of yourself’.
But this is far from easy. And you know that too. Otherwise you weren’t reading this blog right now ?
As a psychologist and mindfulness therapist I thought that this could and SHOULD be done differently. That is why I developed my own system. To provide MORE true balance in life. But my system is not a matter of “just changing a thing here and there”. Or “taking good care of yourself for a while”. It totally goes against the public opinion, I must say.
I am invariably convinced that balance comes with years of practice and training. Hard work. Just like you keep getting better and better when you participate in a certain sport: your muscle mass builds, your combustion increases, you no longer get muscle pain after a workout, etcetera.
My system, called “The Balance Pentagon”, creates a lasting form of balance in your life. So we no longer chase after the short-term solutions – but purely pursue the long term ones. Short term, it does require some investment. In my opinion, balance is not a ‘walk in the park’, as the English say so beautifully (yea, I’m Dutch and I LOVE your sayings lol). So my system is definitely not easy-peasy! Your life won’t be better, with just a snap of my finger.
But once you have reached the point of mastering the steps of the Balance Pentagon, you will then benefit from it for the rest of your life! It’s nice that there is at least a way to find a sustainable form of balance, right…?
Here we go… introducing to you *drumrolls*:
A System to Get (and Stay) Balanced:
The Balance Pentagon consists (as the name suggests) of five parts: you can start this Balance Pentagon from any of the five points. There is no start or end point, which is what makes using the Pentagon so flexible!
How to get (back) into Balance:
Using the Balance Pentagon, you can gain more energy in a consistent way. The components or steps of this model are:
Mindful attitude – In short, a mindful attitude means: having an open, curious attitude towards all the experiences you have in your life (including your feelings and thoughts). Awareness is also a huge part of the mindful attitude. Lucky, you can learn to attain and train this attitude. The here and now is important within mindfulness; we live WAY too much in our heads. Therefore, we keep living in the past or in the future; while we miss the HERE AND NOW! This means that we sometimes miss things in our daily life – beautiful things, which make us enjoy less. Working with a mindful attitude often reveals (emotional and rational) blockages. How awesome that you are actually able to tackle this?!
Core values - Values are extremely important. The word says it all: what is something worth to you? Do you know what is truly important to you in life? What makes you happy and happy and what (core) values of yours affect that? And when do you get triggered (because sometimes when someone goes against our values, we get angry and sad)? When you do things in life that match your values, you feel much happier and therefore more balanced. Makes sense?
(Radical) Acceptance – When you can not and WILL not accept pain, bad feelings, other people or yourself as a part of life, then you cannot make progress in the search for your sustainable balance. You will only hold on to old patterns, hurt, and negative thoughts too much. And with that, your entire system – your brain AND your body, will block. “Just accept it already,” people might sometimes say to you. Right… easier said than done. Because accepting is not that easy! People often think that acceptance is a passive thing; that you either accept something or not accept something. But there is still a huge unexplored grey area. In which you actively work on accepting something – whatever that something may be. As far as I am concerned, acceptance is an ACTIVE process, and there are countless exercises and ways to start that process.
(Self) love – When you don’t care (enough) about yourself, there will always be an inner voice, deep deep inside of you that sabotages you in some way: you will keep yourself small (your dreams may be big, but you might just totally sell yourself short), you put yourself down, you limit yourself in things, you don’t allow yourself a nice relationship or friendships
(which means you will keep attracting nasty people), you don’t stand up for yourself and don’t set boundaries. You name it. Too little self-love also causes imbalance. In fact, self-love is necessary to ever find true balance!
Dedicated Action – You can accept, be mindful, figure out your values and be kind to yourself for ages – but if you don’t take action then you won’t get very far! It is important that you also make a concrete step-by-step plan. A clear actionable plan, with numerous smaller steps that you can plan on your calendar. Concrete steps that will make you grow as a human being.
In my private practice, I see many introverted and highly sensitive women who are struggling with themselves on at least one of these five points. More often I see a combination of several of these five. So if you recognise several of them in yourself, it is far from strange! No worries, you’re actually human (hurray!).
Now, you might instantly ask yourself, what YOU can do to train yourself on these five points?
I will elaborate on that in the coming weeks in my other blogs and newsletters. So keep a close eye on these if you want tips!
With love, xo,
Jamila – Psychologist, Mindfulness-trainer & ACT-therapist.