Article in brief: Plato said “The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom”. That moderation or balance is key to finding calmness and contentment in one’s life – I explore a few ways that we can remind ourselves to find that balance.
It might come as a cliché, or something that is commonly referenced, but there’s absolutely no denying that the month of Ramadan is always closely linked to food. It seems to be on the lips of everyone you come by, what to eat, what new dish they’ve tried, or what ingredient they’ve discovered. Perhaps it’s the hunger speaking, yearning for that moment when the cannons fire and the bellies fill up.
The way I see it, the absence of something – resulting in this case with hunger – creates an obsession for acquisition. As soon as we lose the ability to satisfy our hunger, be it for food or otherwise, we obsess about how best and how soon we can get our hands on it. In the absence of balance and contentment, a need turns into an obsession.
Equally so, the overabundance of anything can prove to be detrimental. Think of what happens when you add too much ginger or garlic to your dish, what sort of negative impact does that have on taste – when in all reality, those were the ingredients that were destined to make your dish delicious and flavorsome.
Just like we find balance in the kitchen, we must also find balance in all our dealings. Portion control, or better yet proportion, is key to finding the equilibrium point of our social lives and our own level- headedness. This is very true in situations of conflict; we find the tendency to veer to one side or the other, picking an argument, sticking with it, and even being stubborn about it. However, if approached with a level-head, with balance in mind, with the ability to weed out emotions and look at the issue objectively, we can come to terms with a middle ground that is far more favorable to both sides, and far more fruitful in the long run.
One way that we can find this balance and be able to approach our issues in the right manner is to get context. It’s easy for us to jump to conclusions when dealing with an issue or a problem. It is much easier to take an emotional standpoint or a one-sided one with little background information handy. Once we better understand the situation, how it was led to, why people may have taken the actions they took, and explore every dimension there is to an issue, we can certainly arrive at much more balanced outcome than one we would have arrived at should we have jumped to a conclusion.
In addition, it’s imperative that we apply this balanced approach to our non-action related situations. Take for example this situation: you witness a person dropping off some charity in a box, and immediately your reaction to that person is that he or she is such a loving, caring, and giving. And while that might be the case, we shouldn’t have to blanket-approach that person and think that every bone in their body is that positive. Much like we shouldn’t judge a person entirely for an action or two that we disagree with.
In all matters, actions, or thoughts, we must apply balance. We must find the perfect recipe that helps us arrive at a comfortable place, whether in a relationship, a problem we’re facing, or an issue we’d like to resolve. On the long run, it can prove to be the most sustainable and beneficial path to follow.