Ralph Waldo Emerson once said To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
We live in a world where standards of beauty, intelligence and success are impressed upon us...Some of us struggle, fight and stand confidently in our beliefs. Some of us just... follow.
It becomes a concern when there is an imbalance between societal expectations and our desires. When this imbalance becomes unbearable, one may find themselves with increasing psychological stress. Mindset may become negative. Behaviours may become self-destructive. One may lose their self- identity.
Before we delve into the topic of Finding Your Balance, let me introduce Dr Oberdan Marianetti…
Society and the Individual
- The majority of people, regardless of culture, are conditioned to follow somebody else’s script. This journey starts when we are children, and are taught to comply with family standards. In school and work, we are told to comply with rules, etiquette and expectations.
- We are well trained to accept a bigger system than us and the system dictates the rules. Our game is to comply to those rules as best as we can to maintain peace, to feel accepted, loved and belonging. If we don’t comply, we are told that we are mavericks, troublemakers, or create disruptors.
When Off Balance
- When off-balance, very often we say that something is missing but they cannot explain why, what or what to do about it. On a superficial level, it can manifest as depression, anxiety or stress.
- For everyone, manifest in different ways. It can manifest in the workplace, in relationships, in one’s own sense of well-being and balance, in sexuality, in parenting style, in attachment to ideals, in objects and or addictions.
- After many years of subscribing to someone else’s script, they will most like end up forgetting about themselves. They seldom ask or prioritise themselves. They don’t ask for themselves or say, who they are, what are their needs, what are their natural talents, what do I aspire to.
- People who are in a disconnected state, seldom speak in “I” statements or address their needs, as created from themselves rather than as a response to someone else’s needs. You hear it in people talk about serving and relating to others in a pleasing and highly one-sided way.
- Because of the collective demands, the familial expectations and their roles in society, sometimes it can become too much to bear, enough so that they’d rather take their lives than to continue to live this existence that is not aligned to who they are.
- There needs to be some balance. We are human beings that are unique in characteristics, talents, aspirations, needs, fears, desires, insecurities and so on. To completely annihilate them in favour of external expectations, can be highly pressurising and damaging.
Finding Balance for One’s Self
- The key to reconnecting to self is working on our ability to be mindful, presence and awareness of the self and what’s around us.
- Purpose is not defined by what you do, but who you want to be. Find ways to learn about and understand who you want to be rather than what you want to do.
- Reach out to friends, parents, colleagues who you know to be accepting, open and understanding.
- Source information from established institutions and reputable internet resources. There are endless stories of people who have gone through the exact same thing.
- Seek professional help, where professional help is available. Look for practitioners who are understanding and open to appreciating the breadth of human behaviour.
- Do not isolate yourself and stay in the world of your own. Especially when you’re young, the story might broaden to very unsettling conclusions.
- When we are embarking on an activity or things that serves our purpose, we might find in some point in our lives it has finished serving the purpose we expected. What remains true is who we are and who we become from carrying out the activity and job.
Within a context or a domain, one may have found balance. But quite often, the moment you have found balance in a part of your life, another imbalance emerges. Therefore, the work continues.
Helping Others to Find Balance
- It is dangerous to think that as family or friends we know best. Ask yourself whether imposing a frame of reference is the right way forward or not because it might not be the only answer.
- Circumstances are unique. Consider the circumstances of the person you are helping, whether they are ready to receive help and whether their society would be able to accept them in their new form.
- Help others learn how to set boundaries by teaching them to create a personal space between themselves and external demands. A space where they can breathe and become who they are.
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Ling Ling loves to learn new things and discover what makes people tick. There is nothing greater than helping others discover and live up to their potential. She believes that life long learning is the key to personal growth, work/life satisfaction and well-being.
Ling Ling is one of the very few independent female podcaster, based in Singapore. She run the The Podcast Collective Circle with Lean In to encourage and support women to be come podcasters.
Ling Ling is the Director of Spark Learning Solutions, a learning and development company that focuses on the development of cultural intelligence, intercultural competence and cross-cultural effectiveness of talents, leaders and organisations globally.
Listen to the introductory episode to learn more.