One of the great challenges of life is finding a balance between doing too much and doing too little. This applies to our relationships, careers, business, family, friends, and anything else that we value in life.
I wrote about removing the meaning from life to be at peace. Every time I write an article with a firm stance like this, I always sleep on it and usually get counter-arguments that come to my mind. In this case, the counter-argument is that you will often do too little when you remove meaning from something and that thing you are doing too little toward may fizzle out.
Conversely, you can do too much in a situation and smother. It’s the same concept of putting a blanket over a fire to try and starve it of oxygen in order to make the fire go out. This is most important where people are concerned. Do too much to talk to or pursue a person and you smother them, causing them to withdraw.
When should you smother? Sometimes, you want to put extra special attention on someone – more than usual. This is especially true if they are looking to you for strength and guidance – if you are in the role of a mentor, and this particular person is struggling. Then giving of your time, if you wish, is healthy in order to help the other person who may not be able to help themself without your intervention.
When not to smother? Don’t smother someone if you are reaching out and they aren’t responding. Don’t smother if their responses are short and terse. They are likely busy or you are merely an after thought in their mind. Both of these warrant a withdraw – which is removing your attention.
Don’t do very much and they may think you don’t care or aren’t interested in their life. I’ve learned that I tend to gravitate toward withdrawing now since being out on my own. My instinct is to withdraw if I feel even the slightest pull back from someone I’m talking to or dating. After all, if they are pulling back, no amount of pursuing by me will help as they are distancing to get space. Of course, this is the meaning I am giving to it and it isn’t always correct :).
Still, that’s my default response. It’s un-natural for me to pursue heavily when I haven’t heard from someone or their communication lessens. I just figure they aren’t interested anymore and let it go. It’s healthy and the lesson of being detached from outcomes is the number one lesson of 2015 that I have learned.
When should you withdraw? When you feel someone pulling away and losing interest in talking to you. They get the gift of missing you. Don’t let anyone take your attention for granted.
When not to withdraw? When someone is looking to you for strength as a mentor or companion – see when should you smother above.
To find balance is to fight for what you want, but do it from a place of strength and being centered. Want but not need. Love and care in such a way that another feels free. That’s the lesson of the last 8 months for me as I’ve met a truck-load of people in my search for that one special connection where we knock each other’s socks off. Haven’t found it yet, but the pursuit of it remains. I don’t need it, but would like it, and have no problem going on another 100 dates to find it.
By the way, dating is expensive! There is a cost associated with going after what you want. I’ve met some incredible women these last 8 months. But I’m very picky. And I won’t ever settle. Yet I will give if someone shows interest in me as I have a lot to give.
Balance comes from loving your life and what you are doing. As I’ve now been successful with this, it’s interesting to see the quality of people that come into my life that I couldn’t have attracted last year. I like it. It says I’m on the right track and I’m getting closer to finding a deep connection with someone that matches all the picky criteria I am looking for :).
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