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Guest Blog: The Four Pieces of Your Internal Balance…

Do you find that you are constantly trying to fight away sadness or low self worth? Do you depend on others to make you feel good, frequently finding yourself in an unhealthy relationship or attracted to the “bad” boy or girl?

Maybe it is time you take a look at your internal balance to see where you need to make some adjustments.

Feeling like you’re off balance within your internal structure can describe a person who is intelligent, successful and social but continues to battle internal feelings of low self worth. This should not be mistaken for depression or any mental illness, as anyone suffering in that regard should seek help from a professional. This is a guide for those who are attempting to find a way to balance their internal world so that you can feel just as good on the inside as on the outside.

When one is constantly trying to fill a void – subconsciously this is projected onto others and onto their outer being. At the same time, these individuals tend to build a “mask” by creating an external personality that feels more fitting for the outer being. This “mask” can be outgoing, fun, social, flirty, and magnetic. They may seem to have it all together on the outside, and maybe there are days when they absolutely do, but on some consistent level there is an internal battle. If you are experiencing this within, it is inevitably creating some sort off balanced energy, and in turn, you will generally attract the same (which is frequently masked as well). This can range from unhealthy romantic relationships and unsatisfying friendships. Thus, these circumstances will further feed into the lack of balance and create an unsatisfying cycle.

Let’s look at this off balance and its effect on relationships. Many times those creating a “mask” tend to fall into difficult or co-dependent relationships. These individuals are searching for someone else to complete their internal being and are subconsciously attracted to those who are seeking the same. Both individuals tend to portray their “mask” and are attracted to one another’s “mask”. These tend to be the women or men that are charismatic, fun, hard to get, and create a disposition which provides an exhilarating chase. The chase becomes thrilling because it puts you in a position to further develop your “mask” (i.e. “I’m going to be really fun and silly and not pay attention to him so that he will notice me”, “I am not going to call her and act standoffish because she will be more interested in me”) instead of being your authentic self. The rush of a person who is creating their “mask” feeds into your own ego, which can create a burst of energy within. This is used to temporarily filling the void which is attempting to create balance internally. Unfortunately, the only one that can truly create this balance is you, and therefore this type of relationship builds up similar to an addiction. Accordingly, the relationship tends to be lustful, intense, full of ups and downs, and driven purely on impulses.

It is not until each partner’s masks start naturally melting away, that each person is left with their own lack of balance and low self esteem. This is usually where the fighting begins, the attacks on one other, and attempts to fix or change one another. Various relational patterns can come from this (i.e. pursuer/distancer) and end up in an up/down relationship, or a break up/make up circumstance. Focusing on that person not having what you need, and/or blaming yourself for always falling for the wrong person becomes a distraction to your internal structure. It is much easier to focus on the other person’s wrong doings then to look within yourself. These relational patterns can continue on until the person is willing to work on the only person you can control or change: you.

In order to truly commit to someone else, you have to commit to yourself first. What we do not realize is the incredible amount of choices and control we have over our internal balance, and how much it impacts our relational choices. Whatever the reason may be, and maybe you will choose to discover this in therapy or through your own personal self discovery, it’s time to let that go and become more aware of your authentic self.

Let’s take a look at some steps that can influence your own personal development which will dramatically impact your relational world.

We hear the word balance a lot, but what exactly does it mean? Internal balance is the feeling of contentment from consistently working on meeting your specific external needs as an individual. This may feel like a daunting task, and at times can be, but as long as you are aware and working, that is what is important. If you find you fall into this category take a look at the four pieces of the puzzle: Social, Spiritual, Physical, and Mental.

Social: Do you have many friends? Close friends? One friend? Friends are a foundation to who we are as a person. Take a closer look at your social life. Are you always out drinking and skimming the service with people? If so, you may want to consider cutting back and attempting to work towards healthier alternatives such as volunteering, sporting events, hobbies, etc. Do you surround yourself with negative, superficial people? Take a good look at who you choose to be around you; this is generally what you become. At any moment you can decide to change who you are surrounded by, and the depth of friendships you have.

Spend more time with those that have the same values as you, senses of humor, positive thinking, etc. Making some drastic changes in your social life can greatly impact how you feel. Meeting new people is always a fun way to motivate yourself and break out of your comfort zone. If you have difficulty making friends or keeping friends, take a look at why. Pay attention to what you’re giving, and what you’re expecting, and see if you can make healthy adjustments. If there are bigger reasons, such as social anxiety, take the time to go to counseling and work on this in order to grow.

As humans, we rely on our connection with others, and you want to keep that connection in tact. The more you socialize, the less of an act you will feel the need to put on, and the more you can be yourself. This will attract the right people around you. Smile at strangers; hold doors open without expecting a thank you, ask someone how they are doing and be genuine. Whatever the specific types of socialization issues you have (and we all have at least one) try to work on it and bring positive people into your life.

Spiritual: Spirituality can mean so many different things to each individual person. Whether it ties into your religion, or into your Tuesday yoga class, spirituality is being able to find some sort of inner tranquility. This can mean taking up meditation, listening to music, sitting in a park, whatever type of activity that gives you serenity and peace that does not rely on others (this is my definition of spirituality). If you are religious and haven’t been to temple or church in a while, then make it a part of your schedule and make a point to get there. If you have never been religious but are interested, start educating yourself. If religion doesn’t appeal to you, maybe writing or poems can give you that internal peace. If you are purely spiritual, or want to explore spirituality, attend a Zen class or Mindful Mediation. Read a book about being in the “now” or challenge yourself to spend a day with nature without any technology. Whatever it may be that can give you some peace of mind, discover it, and you will always have this healthy tool to fall back on in times of stress, without having to rely on anyone else or damaging substitutes.

Physical: I know what you are thinking; you probably want to skip over this one. But the physical aspect of our lives has such a significant impact on our internal being. Exercise is said to almost have an equal effect to our mood as some antidepressants. It releases serotonin, makes us feel productive, and makes us feel good about our outer appearance. If you despise the gym, don’t give up on this aspect of your life just yet. There are many outdoor activities you can try such as learning how to swim or play tennis, signing up for a marathon, hiking, walking your pet, dancing, bike riding, pilates, yoga, whatever you can think of that will just get you moving.

Join a sports team, try a new gym or a new class, try boxing, hip hop, zumba. Just schedule this into your week and make it a point to get it done and you will almost instantly start feeling the internal difference. Once you get yourself there a few times, and enjoy the benefit of it, it will become natural for you to make this a part of your life. No one is born a runner; it always takes a first step. Challenge yourself and see what your body can accomplish. If you haven’t don’t it in a while, start small, take the stairs, park at the end of the lot and walk a little more.

This is such a key role in internal well being, and it is important that you take this on; as it is something you can do now that will create immediate change. This isn’t about weight or looks; this is about restoring a healthy inner energy from physical movement. If you have ever had a dog for instance, think about how the dog would act if you never took it for walks to exercise. Well I will fill you in just in case, they start to completely destroy your home and exhibit “bad” behavior. If you read any of Ceaser Milan’s books, it talks about how dogs need a certain amount of exercise a day in order to balance their mental and physical energy which will reflect in their behaviors. He uses exercise to help the dogs he has saved that were going to be put down for aggressive behaviors. Imagine that? Something so simple? Well exercising our bodies does incredible balancing of the mind, dog or man. Bottom line, stop making excuses and as “Nike” puts it short and sweet: just do it.

Mental: Mental stimulation plays a very important role in positive self esteem. I am not talking about mental strain or stress; I am talking about constructive mental stimulation that helps you grow. Some people may get this from work if they are lucky, some may not. Try and figure out what type of mental stimulation you are receiving and what you are in need of. Its exercise for your brain capacity, some people enjoy board games, reading, cooking, exploring, museums, painting, writing, photography, school. There are so many ways to broaden your mental capabilities, and this should be an area in your life that is helping to develop the internal you. Our minds feed off of trying something new, practice to be good at something, learning how to master something, and it is important to keep this activity going. Find something that you enjoy and begin, sign up for a new class, or learn a new language. There are many adult education classes that offer new and exciting things, and it also can help tackle your social piece as well. If you do any amount of research, you will find how mental stimulation can help people work longer, live longer; keep their memory in tact longer, and gives people focus. Look back into your younger years and get into something you used to love, or something you always wanted to try, and go out there and do it.

Balance is also extremely important when it comes to these four aspects. You don’t want to socialize 90 percent of the time and leave 10 percent for the rest. You want to try to give them all an equal space. If you realize you have been spending a bit too much time at gym, schedule a date with your girlfriends. If you realize you are going out just a bit too much, add in days for spirituality and relaxation. These are four specific behaviors we have control over, and once you tackle these areas your internal self will naturally become balanced and you will begin to attract people with balance. This will create a healthier connection and bond, and allow you to enter a relationship with your needs already met. If you are already in a relationship, this will help lower your co-dependency issues and put your relationship into perspective. Now is the time to take a look at your current internal puzzle and write down what you are currently doing in each category, what you would like to change, add, delete, and what your goals are. After that, get working, and I guarantee it will fulfill that hole and lead you in the direction.

Happy Balancing!

About Our Guest Blogger:  Tory Eletto is a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of E-Motion Psychotherapy located in Westchester County, NY. She specializes in working with preteen, adolescent, and young adults in regards to their individual and relational difficulties. Ms. Eletto uses her creative edge to tailor an integrative plan according to her clients individual needs. Feel free to visit her website at www.e-motionpsychotherapy.com.

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