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Searching For Balance While Dealing With An Obsessive Behaviour
The hack I came up with came up for when struggling to prioritize.
There is no rule book on how to live our lives. Be it good or bad, this applies to everyone—some guide their actions through religion, others through mental models. In my case, I have a filter through which every idea that crosses my mind has to go. If it fits, I keep going; if it doesn’t, I abort the mission.
Balance is the principle I live by. (Cliché, I know).
Before you think this will be an article full of banalities, let me explain it.
What Does It Mean?
Sometimes I go fully into a specific mode. For example, in “The Writing Mode,” and I will obsess over it and spend a whole day writing. 2 pm: My dad calls to see if I want to have lunch, “I can’t! I’m writing” “But it will only take an hour,” my dad says. “DAD, I HAVE TO WRITE” is my final answer.
Moments like these were recurring in my life. I hated the insecurity the possibility of choosing the wrong thing gave me (yes, even if it was just dinner). I needed to get better at prioritizing.
For me, having balance means considering all aspects of my life and keeping them fulfilled. This is something I take seriously, so I came up with a hack to know what needs attention when struggling to prioritize.
First, I determined the important elements in my life by selecting the ones which, if a substantial change occurs, my whole life would be affected.
I identified the following as the areas through which I seek balance:
Having balance means I feel at peace in all six areas. It’s a hack I use not to lose sight of what is important to me.
How Do I Put It Into Action
Searching for contentment in all areas doesn’t mean investing the same amount of time in each category. It means doing what it takes to feel fulfilled in each of them. I use this model to see if I neglect one area while caring for another. Knowing that you can do anything but can’t do everything forces you to prioritize. Identifying these fields lets me know which parts of my life need attention and actions.
Awareness is a key factor in implementing this model as I need to keep a big picture of my life and of what I’m spending time and energy on. This, I’ve come to realize, comes with time and practice. I haven’t been able to identify the moment the concept of balance began acting as a guide in my life, but now I have it so embedded in my head that I apply it automatically.
While faced with a decision, I identify which area it would fulfill. For example, after I finished university and started working full time, my job wasn’t intellectually challenging; therefore, I enrolled in a demanding German course. That way, I spent some time away from the office studying German. With that change, I covered a gap in the intellectual area of my mental order. I find this important because I feel I meet my own expectations by applying these changes.
The Principle of Reverse
I have never told anyone (besides my therapist) about my goal of reaching balance because I rarely have conversations about how I’m living my life. But writing this piece forced me to analyze my behavior, and I realized that my search for balance is an unconscious way of fighting my obsessive tendencies. I know I have them, I’ve been told I have them, and balance is the solution I unconsciously use to mitigate them.
The problem is it does not work because balance became an obsession itself. It transformed from a potential cure to a symptom. I thought that living by this principle was a way of constantly reminding myself to slow down in my current obsession and look around. It turns out, it became a goal to reach no matter what.
I started losing sight of my actions' importance and focusing on whether they achieved the order I had in mind. Searching for balance is great, but doing so while dealing with an obsessive personality can distort its main goal.
I trust my model serves me most times; I believe it forces me to spend time on important things. And we all know that sometimes we don’t make time for these things. But maybe it is not the right model for me as I tend to overthink it. Perhaps I will reach a balance when I stop seeking it.