There’s a guest post on Zen Habits today by Anastasiya Goers of Balance in Me, and while it has some good things to say, it misrepresents the benefits of having a balanced life, as well as how easy it is to get there.
Behavior change is very hard, one of the hardest things there is. Have you or anyone you know ever tried to quit smoking? Changing your habits is usually as hard as that, even when it doesn’t involve drugs manufactured for the purpose of addiction. So when Goers says, “Living in balance is easy and very rewarding because your life becomes the one of joy, happiness and serenity,” she’s not being honest.
Furthermore, the tone of this article implies that everything will be rosy and happy once you achieve this balanced life. Goers gives caveats, but her tone is set by the following description of the benefits of balance:
– you enjoy every moment and every second,
– you can cope with any difficulties,
– you can be happy without any reason to be happy,
– you can be yourself and love the person you are.
With this tone, she downplays the crucial insight of balanced living: that there are bad times just as there are good times. It’s about learning to appreciate every moment of your life regardless of whether it makes you feel crummy. You will feel crummy. Implying otherwise as Goers does is just dishonest.
That said, she touches on many good points, and encourages her readers to pursue unambiguously worthy goals: mindfulness, patience, simplicity, taking care of your body, and creativity. We could all do to live more balanced, centered lives, but we shouldn’t have any misconceptions about it. Life is rough and dirty, and these tools merely enable us to cope with it better.