How can you find balance if you don’t know your center?

I promise you’ll get a review of Happier at Home soon. I’m nearly done with it!

In the meantime, this post is inspired by one of Gretchen Rubin’s mantras from the original Happiness Project, which I’ve been reminded of as I read Happier at Home:

 Be Gretchen.

What this means is that when you’re working on increasing your own happiness and making your life better, you need to be in tune with who you really are and what you really like. Gretchen knows that mediation is something tons of people recommend for boosting happiness, for instance, but she just isn’t interested in it, so she doesn’t pursue it. She has a secret love for children’s books, on the other hand, so rather than feeling like she ought to be reading more serious, grownup stuff, she starts a children’s book reading group…and she loves it!

This idea really applies to balance, too. How can you find balance…in your life, in your finances, in your relationships…unless you know what makes you happy and what you need to feel contented and fulfilled?

Recognize your own personal truths

Gretchen (I promise I’ll stop talking about her after this!) gets very in touch with the things that make her Gretchen: She needs to get enough rest and not get too hungry to keep her spirits up. She’s more of a homebody than a traveler. The things that make other people happy will not necessarily make her happy (and that’s OK!)

I think so many of us have trouble finding true balance in our lives because we’re not recognizing our own personal truths. We’re trying to find balance the way the experts are telling us to…the way we read in some book…the way our friends are doing it and they swear it’s helping them. But we need to understand the things that make us us in order to ever find the right balance that makes us happy.

My personal truths

For instance, here are a few things about me that I’ve come to realize are essential for my own personal balance:

  • I hate exercising for the sake of exercising…running, going to the gym, even doing yoga (which I know is relaxing for lots of people, just not my thing). I need my exercise to be fun (Zumba, rollerblading with the pups, etc.) or else I just can’t get into it.
  • I am a worrywart. That’s not something I can turn off, although I’m trying to learn to be better about it. So in order to combat my worrying, I need to do things like plan ahead and keep my house in order to keep myself from becoming too stressed out.
  • I like doing simple things for fun: date nights every Saturday with The Hubby, meeting my friends for coffee or drinks, hanging out with the pups in the backyard on a lazy summer afternoon. That’s not to say I don’t like adventure and surprises to a certain extent, but I’m never going to live a life full of skydiving and globetrotting. I think it’s great that some people do, but that’s just not my personality.
  • I, like Gretchen (OK, mentioned her one more time!), need my sleep. No, that’s a lie…I LOVE my sleep. If The Hubby didn’t give me the “aren’t you ashamed of yourself” look when I try sleeping 13 hours on a Saturday, I would do it every weekend. I believe that napping can reset my body and my mind when I’m feeling off, that it can help me get perspective if I’m stressing out about something, and also that I feel a million times better if I take a quick nap instead of trying to “push through” feeling groggy. I’ve always felt kind of guilty about this, but you know what? It’s part of being Em. It brings me balance, in a very tangible way. So I should embrace that.

What personal truths do you need to recognize before you can find true balance?





photo credit:  aj_jones_iv


  • This is very true, once you accept who you really are, everything falls into place. I have to learn how to say NO more often and be more honest with people people and myself. It is hard sometime to define what you really want, with all the marketing and peer pressure telling you that you NEED this of HAVE TO do that.

    • Saying “no” is so important! (And something so many people these days have trouble doing.) Good for you!

  • Hi Em,

    I just wanted to stop by and tell you that I really enjoyed your honest assessment of your own life.

    I have never really thought about what I need in my own life for personal balance, but seeing as you have posed the question…

    1) I love hanging out with my puppy dog. He always makes me feel so loved and never has any hidden agendas.
    2) Despite being terrible at it – I thoroughly enjoy gardening and growing things
    3) I hate failure/losing. I really need to chillax a little bit and take stock of the bigger picture sometimes.
    4) I enjoy making food for others. Particularly my wife when I make something that she really likes. I also get a high from teaching others to cook.
    5) Actually, I should change that last one – I get a high from teaching others.

    Thanks for posting this 🙂

    • Thanks, Glen!

      Great assessment of your own needs! Now you’re ready to take the next step and pursue them…Best of luck to you! They’re all great observations and self-realizations. 🙂

  • I’m a casual fan of Gretchen’s, because she and I are eerily alike (homebodies who need a LOT of sleep and regular meals, though she’s much more into decor and a bit more Type A than me).

    My biggest personal truths revolve around my biggest personality traiit – introversion. That’s the pillarstone of my balance.

    • I can understand that. I’d much prefer a quiet night at home with The Hubby and the pups most times over going out. Occasionally, I need a night of dressing up and going somewhere shiny and fun (one of MY personal needs) in order to let out some stress and forget about the worries of regular life, but it’s’ all about knowing (and honoring!) your own personal balance.

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