I was discussing what the term balance means to me last week with some professionals and I quickly realized that what I felt was ‘normal’ in terms of my balance was very different than what they were thinking. I shared with them the concept that balance is in the “eye of the beholder.”
Once I shared that term, the whole group suddenly turned their attitudes around about my ideas of balance and we all quickly agreed that it really is true, balance is in the eye of the beholder.
What this means is two things:
1) You can’t tell me how I need to be balanced. You really just don’t know what my needs are, how I want them met, or really what ‘works’ for me. I think we can all easily argue that you might be able to say “Well, Brian, when I see you on the days that you have cooked truffles, you are always happier.” (True, by the way) But, if you’d never known that I was making truffles one day, you might never know why I was in a good mood that day.
2) What works for you is awesome – it might work for me too! But, maybe not. I think it’s awesome when folks share with me what they do to help keep themselves balanced. It is then my job to pick out the golden nuggets and apply them to my life. I think it is totally cool if you want to suggest some ways that might work for me, but realize that some things might not work for me like they work for you.
Now, I’ll readily admit this makes it pretty tough when you are seeing someone around you “not taking care of themselves” (in your opinion). It is even harder when you care about them and want them to be in a better place. This is tough because you want to reach out to them and say “Hey! Try what I do! It may help you so much!” But, in reality, it might or might not. I think at that time what has worked for me is to sit down with the person and use an ‘I’ statement or two and share when them that I care and that I’m seeing their stress and I want to help, but am not sure how.
What do you think of the concept “balance is in the eye of the beholder?”
Brian Gallagher is a graduate assistant in Residence Life at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis.