Balance or Harmony?

by Haider on November 5, 2010 · 9 comments

in Balance

During my off-days from the Video Challenge, I’m looking at some of the opinions my thoughtful friends have shared with me about life balance.

My blogger friend Gina pointed out the negative sentiments that might arise from the use of the word “balance” in her comment on my twelfth video in the Video Challenge.

… I see so many fret because they feel they are out of “balance” that they must get things into “balance” and so on. The word has put a lot of pressure on our lives. Perhaps the more compassionate way would be to have “harmony”?

I know for me looking back over my life much of the time may have not been balanced but may have been harmonious. Not all parts equal as in balancing out but all parts working well together…

Her point is relevant beyond the scope of “life balance”. Other words like “beauty” and “success” can have equally damaging effects, where we feel that we’re always being scrutinized and judged for our appearance and performance, and our self-worth is dictated by how well we measure up in these criteria.

But I think the problem lies in how we understand these words, and the place we allow them to take in our lives.

What’s In A Name?

“Balance” can mean different things to different people. The word will illicit different emotions according to these meanings and the experiences people have in trying to create “balance”.

I believe that a good starting point to gaining clarity about any word – especially if it’s very abstract – is to ask yourself: “What does it look like in the real world?”

We could be talking about “justice” but have two opposing meanings for the word.

So, if you were leading a balanced life, what would your life look like?

Is “Balance” A Good Thing?

Based on what you think “balance” looks like, is it something you wish to pursue?

If it is, then “balance” is a good thing for you. If it isn’t, then it’s a bad thing.

So, if “balance” is a good then, yet it makes you feel bad, then you need to develop a healthier relationship with it.

In the same way that the pursuit of success can develop into an unhealthy obsession, “balance” can rob our lives of the quality and joy we’re able to infuse in it, simply because we’ve made “balance” the end, and not the means to a healthy, happy life.

Besides, is “balance” always healthy, and in all circumstances?

The Importance Of Imbalance

While balanced living aims to give each life area the attention it needs to help you move your life forward and progress in each life area, there will be times when you need to spend more time, attention, and effort on one life area than on other life areas.

Trying to lead a balanced life while facing a crisis is neither realistic, nor desirable.

It’s not the appropriate approach to take in dealing with life’s challenges.

Therefore, we shouldn’t fear an imbalance in our lives, but should strive to create balance when it’s healthy to do so.

It may not always be easy, but balanced living requires that we develop the skills to deal with life more effectively. And while we develop those skills, it’s only natural that we experience a great deal of imbalance as we learn to adjust and balance.

Harmony Between Life Areas

I consider harmony to be the quality that defines the degree to which our goals in each life area are congruent with each other. To resolve clashing goals and conflicting activities is what creates harmony in our lives, and helps us move all our life areas forward, rather than take two steps back in one life area in order to inch forward in another.

How do you feel about life balance?

And do you prefer the word “harmony” instead?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caileagh
Twitter: Caileagh
November 5, 2010 at 3:00 am

Very good post. I had never really thought about it but balance takes a lot of work and energy. Harmony sounds more like accepting and bringing together the things in your life. It’s a gentler way.

2 Haider November 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Caileagh!

I didn’t think much about how “balance” can feel burdensome until Gina brought it up!

And it’s nice to be aware of how the things we pursue can make us feel, and what ways we can change our approach and the way we see them to improve our experience. If “harmony” is a better fit, then by all means go for it! ;)

3 Gina
Twitter: starlightlife
November 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Haider My Friend!

I just had a thought…do you think it could be that the idea of balance is a more masculine concept and harmony a more feminine way?

Alos wanted you to know I am so honored to be a part of this think tank! Mahalo for all you do to keep us in harmony ;) you know …balanced!

4 Haider November 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

Hi Gina,

That’s an interesting take on the wording. I’m not entirely sure to what extent the masculine and feminine play a role. My suspicion is that balance has been approached in a bad way for so long that people wanted an alternative concept they can work with.

Balance *can* suggest that you’re trying to work with the life areas (it’s more outward), whereas harmony is more about being connected with your own needs (more inward).

Mahalo for raising so many interesting thoughts on this topic! ;)

5 Gina
Twitter: starlightlife
November 8, 2010 at 10:30 am

Balance *can* suggest that you’re trying to work with the life areas (it’s more outward), whereas harmony is more about being connected with your own needs (more inward).

Ye, yes I see that….Outward doing (work) to me is the masculine and inward and connecting (feeling) our more feminine aspects!

Now I need to get caught up on the rest of your posts to see what gems you heave in those.

Mahalo and Aloha!

6 Haider November 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

**Blushes… But in a very masculine way** :P

7 Clearly Composed December 2, 2010 at 11:26 pm

I define balance as parts of the whole coming together in harmony. The word balance is special to me in that it asks us to define what parts of the whole resonates and has importance to us. :)
Clearly Composed´s last blog .. What Life Has Taught Me So Far My ComLuv Profile

8 Haider December 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hi Clearly Composed (aka Emma :P ),

And there I was, pitting balance against harmony, and you harmoniously add the two in a single sentence! ;)

Thanks for stopping by! :D

And, yes, I tend to use emoticons quite a lot. :)

9 Clearly Composed December 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

:) Emoticons rock!
Clearly Composed´s last blog .. What Life Has Taught Me So Far My ComLuv Profile

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