I was at my neighborhood park the other day, just me, my 3 year-old cousin, and our attempt to defy the laws of physics. It all started when she asked me to play on the seesaw with her. Despite my attempts to explain that I was too big and she was too small to successfully teeter-totter, she was convinced that both of us could take turns flying through the air.
So she sat down. Then, I sat down. She went up. I went down. She stayed up. I stayed down. It was no fun. She wanted to get off the seesaw and wanted me to push her on the swing.
While the seesaw served as her first lesson in gravity, for me, it served as a life lesson. Ever looked at a seesaw? I mean really looked at it? It’s one of the simplest pieces of equipment on the playground, but one of the most complex to operate. Without the proper balance on each side, the darn thing is useless. Much like a seesaw being weighted down by the big daddy on the playground, life–without the even weight distribution, or as some folks call it “an even keel”–can be tilted out of whack.
The concept of a well-balanced life, filled with ups and downs, is a simple notion, but one that some of us find hard to grasp. Too many of us let too many things upset our balance. Instead of being happy and healthy and joyful and blessed, not too up, not too down.
Women, material items, friends, work–all good when kept in their proper perspective. But when your lady stops loving right, your job stops paying right, and your friends stop acting right, does that leave you in a tailspin? Are you the type of Brother dependent on so many people and things to “make” you happy that your day, your week, your month is ruined when things that you can’t control go differently than you had anticipated?
We should all strive to be independent Brothers, able to rely solely on ourselves for happiness. When things don’t go right, we should be able to brush our shoulders off and keep living, never letting anyone or anything drastically disturb our life’s balance.
Once you believe, truly believe, that you can take care of your own needs–one of those being your own happiness–only then can you control your own destiny and adjust well to life’s ups and downs.
But that’s not to say that you should be too independent, never asking for help, guidance, or support. We all need assistance, companionship, advice to make it through a crisis, or to take the next step in life’s journey.
Becoming even-keeled starts with making a commitment to leave old emotional patterns behind. For you, it may mean redefining yourself. If your main goal in life is to be anything that depends on people and circumstances outside of your control, then threats to these self-concepts will bend you out of shape, and leave you with little power to make yourself feel better. When we focus on external outcomes, we give up control of our emotions and open ourselves up to other people who can affect us.
Try making a list of at least 10 important general characteristics of yourself. How would you feel about yourself if all of these were threatened at once? Could you still love, respect, and take good care of yourself and still be a happy person? If not, then try to re-examine what changes need to take place in your beliefs about yourself to become less dependent upon others and their view of you.
Most of all, remember that when thinking of yourself and your happiness, push your limits, step beyond your comfort zone. By making an effort to find and keep that balance in your life, you will find that you are well-equipped to handle life’s ups and downs.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group