Balancing Perfectionism

“Balance” is one of those things that seems like a trend lately. You know, like frosted lips in the 2000s, chokers in the 90s, maybe even like kombucha today (but oh my gosh, I just love that stuff!)

Of course, I do see the beauty of balance and the success that comes with this intention. Being exposed to the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path has taught me a lot about how balance is not simply about eliminating stress, but becoming enlightened.

The Middle Path is a complex concept I am still learning about, and I think it is extremely valid. But I’ve been seeing balance play out in my life in an extremely interesting way, and I hope sharing it with you makes us all feel a little more…balanced?

I think balance has been tied too closely to “perfection” (and wrongly so, as Buddhism points out.) It might seem counterintuitive, I mean, isn’t balance all about not being perfect all the time? I think that’s how it should be. But today’s society sees it differently.

Think about it; you did yoga twice this week. This is perhaps your balance. You feel proud. And then the next week, you don’t even fit a small stretching session in. You feel defeated. Balance not achieved.


Since when did “balance” become so black and white? Doesn’t the whole point of balance emphasize flexibility? Spontaneity? I think we’ve put a veil over perfectionism and labeled it as “balance.”

I’ve found myself discovering exactly how controlling I try to be around “balance.” I make plans, I schedule events, I start class papers early. But then when a surprise essay gets assigned I freak out. I think, “How dare this professor disrupt my balance?”

Then I laugh and add it to my schedule. Bring it on.

What I’ve learned is this: balance, just like control, is imaginative. It’s so elusive. We can not control life circumstances, but (here comes another cliche) we can control our responses and perspectives.

I guess that’s how I realized that balance does not mean working hard 5 days a week and doing self-care for 2. It means being in your own personal hell because your thesis sounds like an alien-language and then neglecting studying to watch multiple episodes of Workin’ Moms. It’s taking risks and wanting to explore, consciously disrupting your own “balance” to enhance your life, not diminish it.

I think if I always strive for balance, or at least the way we have defined it today, I will never be satisfied. Although I respect and actually strive for equilibrium in my own personal way, I’ve come to the conclusion that my “balance” should be a response, not a result. It’s a perspective, not perfection. And that satisfies me.





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