By Ineke Van Lint
Many people are building their inner balance and happiness on one single pillar. This is a dangerous situation! What's going to sustain them if for some reason the only pillar they rest upon collapses? There are six pillars that support your inner balance. If you want to live a life of inner calm and peace, don't just lean on one or two pillars, but make sure to invest in all six of them. When you are resting on six pillars and one of them crumbles, there will be no need for drama. You can still support yourself with the other five pillars while you start repairing the one that broke down.
Compare it to a table. Which one will be the most solid one: the one with only one or the one with six legs? Do you think a table resting on only one leg will be stable? Would you dare to put your cup of coffee on it? How do you dare to put your whole life then on the one and only pillar?
What are these six pillars that support inner balance? Here they are in random order:
1. Your intimate relationship. A warm, supportive, nourishing and loving relationship with that significant other, will substantially contribute to your inner balance and happiness. Be careful, however, not to bet all your money on this one pillar alone, while neglecting the others! If your happiness depends completely on your relationship, then you are taking a big risk: what will you do when your partner is gone? When that significant other leaves, dies, or loves somebody else, your entire life will collapse because you have nothing else to support you. Don't link your happiness to just one person!
2. Your job. A meaningful job where you can express your talents is a valuable source of well-being. However, what would happen if you put all of your time and energy in your job, and then some day your employer dismisses you? Your world will fall apart and you are headed for a serious depression. Does it feel like you are married to your job? It is too dangerous to entirely identify yourself with your job without paying attention to the other pillars. You are much more than your business card!
3. Your children. God knows it's a wonderful gift to have children. I have four of them myself and every day I thank the Universe for choosing me as their mother. But what happens if you focus too much on your children? A parent who lives only for his children will suffocate them. He puts too much pressure on the child, which then feels obliged to live up to the parent's expectations. The child may feel solely responsible for fulfilling the need for love and affection of the parent. This is a burden too heavy for any child to bear, and it jeopardizes the child's free development and individuality. One day the children will leave to start their own life somewhere else. If your children are your only pillar of happiness, then your whole world will fall apart. What's left is emptiness, depression, dependency, and trying to make the grown-up children feel guilty for not caring enough about their parents. Don't take your kids hostage. They are entitled to a life of their own.
4. Your house and material possessions. Creating and enjoying a beautiful house brings a lot of pleasure into your life, but what are the dangers of making property your most important life goal? When it's all about having, buying and possessing "stuff," the only guarantee you have is that of dissatisfaction. You don't know how much stuff you need to possess before you will find peace, and therefore you will never find it. There is no end to "having." As long as you are convinced you need to have things in order to be happy, you will be restless and a slave of your own attitude. Being rich is okay, of course, but it should not be a goal in itself, otherwise you are doomed to be unhappy, always waiting until you possess another car, another house, more money, more stuff.... Not a good recipe for happiness!
5. Meditation. Meditation is good, you say! Of course it is! But what if all you do is meditate, and hope everything will be fine? You will not get much satisfaction or happiness that way. You will feel useless and restless. Your body needs action, and your energy needs a goal to strive for, so that it can flow through your veins and direct your life. Meditation will only get you nowhere. There's more to life!
6. Your friends. Good friends are essential. They are the pepper and salt that give taste to life. They share your experiences and make them worth living. They give you feedback and back you up when you need help. But what if you need to share everything with them? They have their own life, their own experiences to live. Relying on friends for every single thing you do is a ticket for disaster. You need to be able to sometimes do things by yourself. If your friends leave you or break up with you, and they are everything your life is built upon, then your world will fall apart.
I think you are getting my point: every pillar is good and a valid source of energy and happiness, but it's dangerous to rely too heavily on only one of them. Leaning on your relationship too much makes you dependent on the other. Identifying with your job too much transforms you into a workaholic. Chasing after material possessions makes you a materialist. Relying on your kids too much suffocates them. Thinking meditation will fulfill all your needs makes you an isolated stranger. Relying on your friends too much makes you a needy person, always turning to somebody else for rescue.
You will however find inner balance in the combination of all these aspects. Every one of them can be a source of happiness, as long as you enjoy each of them with moderation.
Do you have kids? Wonderful! But don't forget to also invest some time in your relationship, your work, your friends, your house and your inner silence.
You have a good job? Great, but do take time to play with your kids, to spend some romantic time with your partner, to go out and have fun with your friends, to take care of your house and to meditate.
You are a meditation freak? Don't forget to clean the house, to help the kids with school, to do your job, to meet your friends and to listen to your partner when he comes back from work.
You invest a lot of time and energy in your house and other material possessions? Fine! Just don't forget to spend some time with your children, your partner, your friends, enjoy your work and meditate!
You are committed to freedom and friends? Ok, no problem! Now balance your life by taking some time to experience the inner silence, to play with your kids (or somebody else's), to invest in a particular loving relationship (even if it scares you), to take care of your house and possessions and to excel at your job.
You love someone and that person loves you back? Great! Now don't forget about your friends, your job, your children (or someone else's), your house and your inner silence, if you want this relationship to last!
Imagine a peace temple, built on six pillars. If your personal peace temple is supported by one pillar only, then surely the first tornado that comes along will bring it all down! Too dangerous! The stability of your temple depends on the support of all six pillars. If one of the pillars is temporarily out of service, nothing catastrophic will happen because you still have the five other pillars to carry you on.
If you lose your job, but you still have five other solid pillars to hold you up, you will find the strength to find a new job. Your children are leaving the house? No panic! You still have five other pillars to support your temple! One of your friends has let you down? Your significant other has left you? You have to leave your house? You will be able to handle all of this, if you can revert to other pillars that continue to support you.
Don't build your happiness on one pillar, but invest in the solid combination of all six of them. Everybody knows about the importance of a balanced diet, as well as the danger of an overdose! In the same way, your inner peace depends on your ability to find the right balance between the six pillars.
About the Author:
Written by Ineke Van Lint, psychologist. My goal is to help you achieve success and happiness. Accomplish your mission on earth and love yourself. Two free e-courses at http://www.theenthusiasm.com