A human being is multidimensional, but a human doing is more like a drawn line than a faceted gem, according to Anne Wilson Schaef. All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl as they say. When we spend all our time doing without ever really stopping to consider who we are and what we want out of life, our lives become entirely about our work and ability to serve others. We disappear. It’s flat, and one sided. We require multiple dimensions in order for us to truly feel fulfilled in life, to spark our joy and our passion, to keep us interested and interesting.
When we choose to be ourselves, who we are is revealed through our actions in a multitude of ways. When we choose to do endlessly for others, we become drained and colorless.
Coco Chanel once said, “There is a time for work. And a time for love. That leaves no other time.”
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“Well, at least Coco Chanel recognized that one has to do something besides work! How many of us have ruled out love and living from our lives and seen them as expendable? Even if we are married, we act as if love is a luxury that we can ill afford. Our disease of doing too much has isolated us more and more from ourselves and others.
Just as nature needs balance, people need balance. We need time to be whole persons, and this means balance. We are constantly being drained. Therefore, we need to be fed, and we need time to digest the nourishment. Work and love are better than just work alone and . . . there is more.”
Women so closely identify with the roles that we play in others’ lives that we often forget we have our very own identity as individuals. A woman is a person on her own, with unique needs, talents, hopes, and desires. She is a person on her own before she is a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a lover, a mother, or a sister. We forget to put ourselves first because we often don’t really see ourselves, not as individuals anyway. We see ourselves only in terms of our relationship to others. How we serve them. What benefit we bring. Our only value, we have come to believe, is in the work we do. This is simply not true though. We must find balance to restore order to our lives.
Balance means recognizing that there is more to life than just one thing. When we put too much stock in one area of our life, the rest suffers. We are not meant to be one sided. When we spread our interests and attention out over many different areas, we find we have more energy to give to each one. There are some unpleasant tasks in life, but when we take time for rest and play, we find ourselves with more energy and creativity to tackle those difficult problems. Balance is amazingly restorative and energizing to us. Balance is the natural way of the world, and we are part of nature.