All This Talk About “Balance” Might Be More Harmful Than Helpful. Here’s Why

Balance. This word is applied to every aspect of your recovery.

Strive for a “balanced” diet. Have a “balanced” attitude to your body. Find a level of “balance” in you exercise routine, your relationships, rest, your work…

Apparently, a balanced life is key. But is the idea of a balance helpful? Maybe not.

Google gives the definition of balance as: “a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” It suggests that everything has to be exactly equal – perfectly equal. But what is perfect in recovery?

Balance: “perfectly equal” 

Striving to achieve balance tends to lead to one thing –  perfectionism. Many eating disorder sufferers struggle with the need for things to be perfect and in control. In recovery, those virtues need to be challenged.

In recovery, we need let go of our tight grip on life and take a leap of faith into the unknown. The word “balance” suggests that recovery has to be perfect. It suggests that you need to find an equilibrium that I believe is unattainable. Plus, it also keeps you purely focused on the future, which is to the detriment of your present.

What is a balance in your work and private life? Does this exist? Can anything ever be truly stable?

No. Especially not in recovery. Recovery is defined by the ups and downs, the fluctuations in attitude, the “finding your feet” that comes with an unchartered territory. There is nothing measured or stable about the crazy emotional journey which you embark on in recovery.

Flexible: the new balance

That’s why I think a better ideal to aim for is “flexible.”

Being flexible means adapting your life depending on your present emotional and physical needs.

Is your work life balanced today? Or are you being flexible? Do you choose when to work and rest based on how you feel and what you’re actually capable of?

Being flexible allows you to focus on the present – the here and now. After all, recovery is about trying to move on from the past and creating a world in which you can flourish and bloom.

Recovery cannot be perfect. It can’t be balanced. It’s personal, individual, and often turbulent ride.

Practice flexibility, recovery warriors, and you practice imperfection. Warrior, being imperfect is a healthy part of life.

(Last Updated: August 23, 2022)

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