I consider myself alive only for 5 years now.
Previously, I wasn’t me. I was my parents, my teachers, and my society. I was who they inspired me to be.
But since I started living away from home, taking responsibility for my own life, I became alive. Everything good and bad that I was doing — I stopped blaming others for that. I started experimenting with things.
So if I was taught in childhood that working 14hr/day is what working hard means, I tried working less. And I noticed both of them are utterly wrong approaches for me.
I was inspired to be religious and worship God. I tried becoming an atheist. And both of them didn’t work out for me.
The more I explore this journey of living my life consciously, the more I am making peace because life is probably about balancing extremes. Or, if I may correct the statement — a peaceful life is mostly about balancing the extremes.
Here are 4 such extremes that I intend to balance on my way to continue living a peaceful life —
Acceptance v/s Improvement
Self-love is a balance of self-acceptance and self-improvement.
There might come moments in your life when you are going through rough times. And if you feel you can blame yourself for those times, the way to get out is to upgrade and improve yourself.
And when you’re consistently being hard on yourself and getting better, there will be moments that require acceptance from you.
Staying in the zone of self-improvement for a long time will make you obsessed and paranoid with betterment and will probably push you to perfectionism; dare I say — you might even fall into the pit of self-hatred.
Staying in the zone of self-acceptance for a long time will make you lazy and lethargic. It won’t be a stretch to say you might even start procrastinating a lot using the excuse, “I’m learning to accept myself for who I am.” This would mean you would stay in your comfort zone, and that’s the end of growth and, eventually, life.
So here you see, life is supposed to be a sweet balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance.
When you’re consistently being hard on yourself and getting better, there will be moments that require acceptance from you.
Planning v/s Action
I have seen so many self-help gurus promoting the tip — “take quick actions.”
Well, Ummm, yes, action creates results. But without a plan, taking quick actions can also put you a year behind in the whole schedule.
No plan is more dangerous than a wrong plan—food for thought.
Too much planning and too little action obviously create a problem of fewer results. And too many actions without any plans, they have the potential to create a ruckus.
Because I have been programmed to hustle hard since childhood, I realize there were so many incidents in my life where I didn’t plan enough and took massive actions. Guess what; they didn’t end up well.
Now I know the importance of plan and action — I need to plan enough and then immediately start with the execution.
There you see, life is supposed to be a strategic balance between planning and taking actions.
Motion v/s Stillness
Our life is like a river; it’s constantly flowing. And there’s a famous saying around it —
“No man steps in the same river twice.”~ Heraclitus
This implies whatever we have lived in is in the past, and we can’t go through the same moments again.
Sure, we need to move forward, we need to evolve, and we need to grow. On the contrary, we must also learn how to practice stillness and enjoy the moment because no moment is coming back.
If you’re always working, going out with friends, talking to strangers — are you really living in the moment? Are you mindful of your time?
Too much motion and no stillness creates anxiety. Too much stillness and no motion creates hopelessness and eventually depression.
And that’s why life is supposed to be a mindful balance between moving forward and enjoying the present moment.
Hustle v/s Surrender
I grew up being inspired to work super hard. 14 hours days aren’t a big deal for me. I have been studying, participating in competitions, and working 12–15 hours a day since I was 14.
Taking breaks is hard for me. I realized this in April 2020 while working with my coach that I hadn’t taken any day off for the past 4 years, including Sundays, unless I was sick or there was some emergency.
You see, the hustle has been programmed in me. And now it comes naturally to me. But over the period, I learned, we are human beings, not human doings.
Hustle, or going out, getting all the things you ever wanted, is a form of masculine energy. Waiting for things, listening, and surrendering your needs and everything in someone else’s hands is feminine energy.
And as far as human existence goes, we need a mixture of both masculine and feminine energies within ourselves.
There are moments when you need to lean forward and make things happen, and then there are moments when you need to lean back and let life take control of everything.
Are you balancing these acts of hustle and surrender?
Here are 4 extremes I ought to balance in my life to continue living a peaceful life —
- Acceptance and improvement. Life is a sweet balance between upgrading yourself and accepting yourself for who you are.
- Planning and action. Creating astrategic balance between planning and taking actions.
- Motion and stillness. Life is supposed to be a mindful balance between moving forward and enjoying the present moment.
- Hustle and surrender. Learning a balance between leaning forward, taking control of things, leaning back, and letting go of control when needed.
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