All of those relationship clichés (that ring true) like compromise, active listening, and appreciation all lead to the same end goal. However, striving towards balance is a lot easier said than done. This should be the ultimate destination in any relationship whether with a boyfriend, wife, mother, son, colleague, or close friend. To make things even more challenging, the definition of balance is subjective and ever-evolving.
Who says that a “good” relationship requires an equal amount of give and take? That’s a nice idea, but just like everything else in life there are rarely absolutes. Some relationships are pretty equal in this regard, others require much more give from you (parenting is a prime example), while in others you are the taker. This doesn’t mean that the relationship is unbalanced; it’s just different.
How Do I Know What Balance is “Right?”
Pay attention to your intuition because it’s rarely wrong. A good analogy is a mousetrap and the variety of forms they take. Sometimes the situation calls for live traps and sometimes ultrasonic devices are best. Some folks still prefer the “snap traps” that we grew up with.
There is no right or wrong here because it all depends on what the person is comfortable with. When it comes to relationships, trust your gut. If you feel like you’re being used, you probably are. If your heart simply feels open towards a specific person and the giving is nurturing you, too, then there’s still balance.
Testing the Level
A lot of people believe strongly in the butterfly effect, that karma will take care of all, and if you fall into that category, props to you. However, karma isn’t a simple thing to understand and life isn’t about constantly depositing good things in order to get a solid return. That’s what smart investing is for, not relationships. So, how do you know if you’re on the right track?
Take a close look at the happiness level in your life. Be honest with yourself and with the assessment. Are there people in your life that you’d be happier without? Are you putting in as much effort with certain relationships as you’d like?
All of those conversations that you’ve had dozens of times in your head with different people are much more effective if you actually do it. No one is a mind reader. You’ll be surprised at the balance that’s suddenly restored if you simply speak up, even if it’s not an easy conversation.
This can include everything from confronting your sister about her never contributing to gifts on Mother’s Day or telling your husband how thankful you are that he finally started closing the kitchen cupboards. Sometimes these talks aren’t always comfortable, but if they’re recurring in your mind then it’s critical to get them out there. Simply speaking might be exceptionally difficult at times, but it’s also incredibly powerful.