This post is part of the reader-submitted Your Balance Story series. This series showcases stories by readers where they have achieved balance in their lives. If you’d like to submit a story, please click here. This post comes from Shannyn at Frugal Beautiful.
Do you ever feel like you’re doing what you “should” but not what you love? Do you ever think you’re happy, or even tell yourself you are, but keep thinking, “this isn’t the life I ordered”?
It’s easy to follow what’s prescribed to us without thinking. Go to school, get a job, get married, and — voilà! — we should be happy! We take cues from everyone else, assuming that they are truly happy and we are not, so we follow their lead. But even when we achieve what thought we should, why aren’t we really content in our own skin?
For the first time in my life, I’m happy — truly, utterly and authentically blissful, content, confident and, yes, a bit more balanced. For years, I did everything I thought I should do but still wasn’t fulfilled. I had to learn the hard way to discover my own unique, hard-won balance and discover what it meant to truly be “me.”
My Three Steps to Balance:
- Make a big mistake (or realize something’s amiss).
- Get real with your authentic you & search for balance.
- Fight like heck to get it! Because your bliss deserves a fighting chance.
How do I know this?
A year ago, I wanted to be an educator and writer, I assumed the only way to do that was to earn the right to write by getting a Ph.D. and thus become a “true” educator. I made the BIG MISTAKE of assuming I needed the outward verification and certification of an institution to have a voice, to write, to express myself. I didn’t have the confidence to do it on my own, so I hid behind the fear of failure and thought a degree from a big name university would not only validate my writing, but validate me as a human being.
While I struggled to convince myself that there was nothing shallow or hollow about my choices and lie that my big mistake was legitimate, since “everyone else did it this way,” I started FrugalBeautiful.com as a side project. That silly little blog I had devoted my free time to lit a fire in my soul and completely shook me to my core. Getting such satisfaction from a blog and not from my academic research, flew in the face of what “real” writing was in the academy. I was in love with this unprofessional, amateurish little hobby blog and it scared the heck out of me! Why couldn’t I just be happy doing things the traditional way? I learned that I had to FIGHT LIKE HECK to forgive myself for loving what I did and FIGHT to do it regularly — to write, to explore, and to unabashedly be ME.
At that point, I had to do the toughest thing anyone ever has to do:
GET REAL WITH YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF.
Here’s a tip: You know you’re onto what’s “truly you,” when you feel a great resistance towards it. It excites you and makes you ill simultaneously because you know it goes against the grain, but it feels so undeniably right inside. If you’re terrified and excited at the same time? That’s how you know.
For me, finding balance was a process that started with my writing. Writing caused me to be real with myself and clear out the mental clutter that had been limiting my thinking for too long. It led to things I never thought it would — exercise, eating healthier, adopting a dog (simply because it made me happy), spending smarter and pursuing new friendships. It also made me clear out what wasn’t working — friendships that made me insecure, my penchant for sugary snack foods, clothes that didn’t make me feel gorgeous and of course- I still try and tackle impulse shopping.
And that’s where I’m at today, I’m still making big mistakes, I’m still asking questions and every day I open up the laptop, I fight like heck to get my best life. But this balance? This happiness? This life? It’s mine and I have learned to forgive myself that it didn’t look like I thought it would. Chances are, you don’t want to conform to someone else’s idea of ‘balance’ either.
When was the last time you forgave yourself for your silly little quirks, your weird dreams, your big goals and your unrealistic expectations and struck out on your own to find your unique balance? When was the last time you celebrated what is uniquely YOU and utilized it to your advantage?
For you, finding balance might mean dedicating your time to activities that fill you up and energize you, while learning to better refuse any projects or activities that drain you. It may mean dedicating yourself to healthy eating, or finally tackling your credit card debt. It could be switching jobs or simply sitting down to journal about your feelings.
If its been awhile since you embraced your true self and prioritized what matters most, start right now. You deserve it, and today, you strike out on a new path towards greater balance.
Shannyn blogs at FrugalBeautiful.com, where her goal is to create meaningful content for women who want more in life than what’s put on a high interest credit card.