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Blake Beattie
Free Articles > Tightrope (work/life balance)

Artificial Balancers: Are You Living a Lie?  05.05.2008


Caffeine gives a false sense of energy;
Busy-ness gives a false sense of purpose;
Martyrdom gives a false sense of worth;
Fair-weather friends give a false sense of belonging;
Anger gives a false sense of power;
Self-righteousness gives a false sense of morality;
Escapism gives a false sense of happiness;
There are many things in our lives that give us an artificial feeling of balance: a false or temporary sensation of reality. Artificial balancers can include vices like alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other such addictive habits. Other artificial balancers are simple human emotions like avoidance, denial and anger, which mask issues and don’t deal with situations constructively. We all have our weaknesses but if we want to live a productive life, we must be watchful so that we don’t use these balancers as a crutch for our weaknesses.
Artificial balancers (or quick fixes) begin as a temporary way of addressing a situation. We may grab a coffee each morning as a way to give us a boost of energy. But what happens when we need 3 coffees before noon in order to function or to avoid suffering a headache? What sort of reality is that?
Sadly, a clear example of artificial balance is alcoholism. Many people would regularly enjoy a drink with their friends or colleagues after work. BUT did you know that in a recent Australian National Health Survey, almost 1 in every 2 adult males (48%) over 18 years of age, binge-drank at least once that year while 1 in 8-9 adult males (12%) over 18 years of age binge-drank once every week in the year prior to the NHS. A decade ago, the economic cost of alcohol misuse in Australia (including crime, loss of productivity, hospitalisation and premature deaths) was $7.6 billion. Alarmingly, it was reported this month that the combined economic cost of alcohol, drugs and tobacco misuse in Australia is now $56 billion a year!!!
It goes without saying that drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on the health of the individual as well as the national economy. But they are rarely a behavioural issue exclusive of an emotional issue. They usually mask deeper stressors that lie unaddressed below the surface. When we keep these issues covered or masked by artificial balancers, we stay locked up and our energy gets channelled back into concealing these matters rather than healing and moving through them on to more exciting life adventures. This is why truth is such a simple virtue. As Mark Twain put it: “If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything”. However, for many, honesty means vulnerability and weakness while for others, truth is just a commodity in a power struggle.
“We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger” ~Tad Williams
Luckily, there is so much to be gained by living a life of truth. Honesty:
  • Gives you a clear conscience, redirecting your efforts to more interesting areas of your life;
  • Gives you a clear view on reality both in your life and in your relationships.
  • Means there are no dirty little secrets that people must tip-toe around.
  • Means no-one accidently lets any cats out of bags and there are no skeletons in closets waiting to be discovered.
  • Means issues are addressed in the open and emotions are expressed rather than ignored or suppressed.
  • Means a life without fear.
"Truth fears no questions" ~Unknown
Truth does not guarantee an easy life, free from conflict. In fact, it can equal the exact opposite. BUT what it does mean is that you can be free to be yourself. You don’t need to act or pretend to be something you aren’t. As Shakespeare once said: “to thine ownself be true”. By being honest, you are putting energy towards pursuing what you want out of life, rather than putting energy towards covering your tracks.
When you lie and pretend, you doubt others. You doubt their capacity to accept you for you. On top of this, you imply that you could hide bigger truths from others if you can’t even share the real you with them. Eventually, people won’t want to spend time with someone they don’t trust or who doesn’t trust them.
"A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future" ~Author Unknown
Truth is not an elixir for the perfect life but it keeps your energy focused in what is real rather than what is not real. Many people may not appreciate your opinions or your frankness. However, people will know where you stand. In order to avoid artificial balancers and the danger that lies there, honesty and truth are imperative because in the end, you reap what you sow.
Like a swimmer on a sand bank, trusting in artificial balancers will eventually see the ground washed out from under you, leaving you stranded out of your depths. Health and honesty give you a clear sense of balance in your life and in your relationships. Trust in honesty because Truth is honesty.
"A half truth is a whole lie"  ~Yiddish Proverb