Our Personal Balance Sheet: Accounting for Ourselves

Whether we like it or not, tax season regularly rolls around every year. Typically we may look toward filing our taxes with dread or distaste, not wanting to take the time or spend the energy to get all our receipts and records together. Not only do we have to get our tax records organized and plow through the paperwork, when all is said and done we may even have to cough up a hefty payment.

Life has a way of demanding payment from us as well.  Periodically we need to “account” for ourselves by assessing how we are living our lives. Tax season is a good time to remember to do that. In analyzing our own personal balance sheets for the past year, what do we find? Did we allow ourselves to have fun and find pleasure in everyday living?  Did we live the best we could, or did we settle for less than? Did we build up our relationship assets or did we ignore or neglect the people we care most about?  Did we "earn” respect from others both professionally and personally?  Did we acknowledge and honor the people in our lives by giving them our time, commitment and presence, or do we find a negative balance?

If we find that our ledger sheets and the accounts of our life are out of balance, what can we do about it? Living a balanced life is the ability to take everything that life throws at us and still be able to manage it all without becoming overwhelmed or having a complete meltdown. Whatever we are doing or whatever our circumstances are in life, there is always someone or something to be accountable to or be responsible for. There are things we want to do and there are things we must do. One of our greatest challenges is to balance what we must do with what we enjoy most and want to do—often easier said than done.

This does not mean that all roles and areas of life have to be in perfect balance all the time—they are never going to be. The critical factor is not letting anything that is truly important be totally neglected because of all the other things that have drained us to the point we have nothing left to give.

If you feel that something just isn’t right about your life, it may be your subconscious mind trying to tell you that your personal accounts are way out of balance.  Are you stressed out? Are you a workaholic? Tired all the time? Unhappy?  These are all signs that your life may have spun out of control.  To restore balance, it may be necessary, at least for a period of time, to be a little more “unbalanced.” This means focusing less on those areas of your life that are getting the lion’s share of your time and energy now,and spending more time concentrating on those that aren’t working so well and are in need of additional attention.

Balance, like happiness, is a journey rather than a destination, and each of us in our own way contributes to the whole of our collective human existence. Moliere reminds us that both our action and inaction count. What we don't do matters as much as what we actually do. Each of us lives our own unique life for which we alone are responsible and accountable.

Throughout the year and not just at tax season, we owe it to ourselves to take the time to review our personal balance sheets. To be truly accountable we need to ask ourselves how we can add to the world's "bottom line" in a positive way, and what can we do today and every day that will “profit” both ourselves and others.

 “If you want an accounting of your worth, count your friends”
~ Merry Browne


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