I hope that you have all enjoyed a nice Easter break and are feeling refreshed and full of renewed energy. Have you all managed to successfully get the right work / life balance lately?
I have spent a few days on our delightful narrow boat, a time not only of rest and rehabilitation for my husband and I, but also a time of reflection. It was during my time of reflection, that I began to think of the character Alice, the main protagonist in my debut novel of the same name. I guess like a lot of women, she struggled to get the right work / life balance. It seems to me that she was attending to everyone else’s needs and neglecting her own.
Was she a martyr or displaying evidence of selflessness? The first adjective describes someone who suffers persecution and death for their religious or other beliefs, and yet in the modern world we use this to describe someone who tries to get sympathy from others and is often used quite loosely.
On the other hand, selflessness describes someone who has little concern for themselves, especially with regard to fame, position or fortune. I guess that Alice could be described as being unselfish at times, but is this so bad. The Dalai Lama XIV, once quoted,
Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” The Dalai Lama XIV
Wise words indeed!
Perhaps Alice like many women felt this way, maybe fundamentally she felt that her prime purpose was to help her own and her extended family, without a care for herself, however, there was a price to pay, the hurt was not to others but to herself.
One would think that a loving husband would know his spouse like no one else, which suggests that he would be quick to recognise a change in his wife when she started deliberately sacrificing her own wants and needs to make sure that the needs of others are met. Robin, the husband of Alice appeared to understand that his wife was struggling, but seemed unable to make any positive changes that would help to alleviate her struggles.
A healthy relationship helps to increase confidence and with the confidence comes the ability to share emotions, both positive and negative feelings can be explored together. Therefore, both Robin and Alice lacked this skill of being able to truly communicate their feelings.
It could be argued that they both lacked the courage to address the fear of where they were heading, in terms of their relationship. However, one of the main misconceptions about courage is that it is linked to fearlessness. Fear itself can be central to change, so realising that it is okay to be afraid can be the first step towards making a decision towards a positive outcome.
So to all of you who have read or are planning to read my novel ‘ Alice’, observe how her life spiralled out of control. Think about your own work / life balance, remember that positive connective relationships help to increase confidence. Sleep well, eat healthy, remain active, but above all else, let go of self-doubt, guilt and negativity.
Above all else, love and be happy. x