Balance and Boundaries

Topic: The Virtue of Balance and the importance of setting boundaries

Our discussion today will be about practicing the Virtue of Balance and how it applies to setting healthy boundaries in our lives.

You may find that sometimes people ask more of you than you can safely afford. Balance teaches us that it is okay to tell those people “no;” it does not reflect poorly on you as a Compassionate person, as you are Balancing Compassion with Integrity. In some cases, the most Compassionate thing you can do for a person is let them suffer the consequences of their own actions, so they learn to do better (or not, depending on the person). If somebody was caught driving drunk, for example, maybe let them sit in jail instead of bailing them out. They could have done a lot of harm with their behavior, so they need to learn that they will be punished for it.

We must also practice Balance when deciding who we choose to associate with. Our friends should be interesting and involved without being manipulative, demanding, or abusive. People who only contact you when they want something are not friends, they are dependents that you cannot even claim on your taxes. It is okay to turn these people away to maintain your own Serenity. The same principle applies to those who suffer from a treatable mental illness but who refuse to seek help: You can offer them resources, but if they enjoy using their misery as an excuse to inflict misery on others, they will just remain toxic to everyone around them and it is okay to avoid them. Remember, the mantra for Compassion: “Everything that does evil is in pain.” (Clive Barker, Imajica, 1991) still does not excuse the evil that is done. In order to fully recover from one’s suffering, one must atone for the suffering inflicted upon others.

Another application of Balance is the media we choose to consume. It seems that all news is bad news lately, so Balance that out by reading the funny pages, too. Try to maintain a positive news feed if you are active on social media; do not just post the doom-and-gloom of environmental and sociological disasters. Make sure you like and share good news stories, cute videos of ducks and puppies, cat memes, anything that cheers you up a little and makes you smile. As an experiment, I am currently only liking and sharing positive or constructive Facebook posts, and only commenting with positive reactions. So far, I have observed that I am more Serene and can exercise Compassion more easily in my daily life. I found a couple amusing but innocent online Facebook comic-book pages that I am now following, and I like to interact with those posts, always with happy, positive comments. Having those funny posts in between the bleak news about climate change and the stupid things some people are doing has made it easier to remain optimistic about the future. I also like online magazines with lists of funny facts and things. You are encouraged to find things that make you happy, online and otherwise, so the bad news we are all dealing with does not overwhelm and depress you.

Does this give you a good idea of how to practice Balance in your daily life? 


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