Letting Go of Balance
This week I attended a lecture by Lihi Lapid (see her TEDx Jerusalem Talk) a news columnist, speaker and self-described feminist. Feminist has many connotations. In this case, I would describe Lihi as not a feminist-activist, but a feminist-realist. Another author described her as having her “finger on the pulse of contemporary women’s issues”. In her column, which is written completely in the feminine form, Lihi writes about the common struggles of working and not working women; married and unmarried women; moms and not moms—you get the point—women in all of their roles.
What struck me in Lihi’s talk and conversation was the following paraphrased story:
Following an introduction of the things and lifestyle she liked—girl things…
“It was the holiday and I was in the kitchen making donuts. I was proud of my donuts. I liked making donuts for my family.”
I think Lihi described her apron and the powdered sugar—or this is what I had as a mental image as she told the story.
Lihi continues, “It was at this point that I realized I am both of these women. I am the baker and I am the champagne and lace lady. Not one; not the other. Both”
This last phrase is what struck a chord with me. Lihi accepted that she is both of these. She did not try to resolve the two. She did not try to balance them; to convince us that she can do both well, or even that she is good at either one of them. She is so comfortable at compromising from a position of strength that the struggle for balance or justification does not occupy center stage and take away from the roles themselves.
We all (women and men) carry multiple roles. We are perhaps looking for a grand strategy to balance these responsibilities and be good, great, perfect at all of them. What would it be like to let go of the need to strike balance? Is balance an artificial condition? Is the balance we are striving for defined? If so, is it defined by others? Is the unwillingness to compromise with ourselves actually getting in our way? What would happen if we turned that around and put as much energy into compromising and we do fighting it?
Making the choice to compromise is an example of taking care of ourselves by striking our own balance that we want, if we want. Doing “more of what we want and less of what we don’t” is not a selfish point of view. It actually allows us to be more authentic, more present in the moment, more giving to others.
Lihi Lapid’s latest book is “Woman of Valor”. This book is akin to “I Don’t Know How She Does It” by Allison Pearson but with a bit less humor and drama. If you have been through or are going through the stages of dating to grandparenting, you will recognize yourself in Lihi’s book and will find sympathy in her voice.