Balance, capacity, and judgement

I very frequently find myself reflecting on, and struggling with, the necessity for balance in various aspects of life, and how it can be so challenging to get right. Here are some of my thoughts (rambles may be more accurate) and struggles with balance, particularly as they relate to capacity (how many spoons I have available), and judgement (both self-judgement and (perceived) judgement from others).

I’m having a rough time right now. I’m struggling financially which is stressful. I feel very privileged to be living in a lovely inner-suburban apartment, but between mental health challenges and regular and routine work, making rent is a challenge.

Despite this I can’t help but feel a lot of self-judgement around how I “should” be grateful for having a cosy home, and I “should” be just “trying harder” to get more work done. And while I’m at it, I “should” be making more time to support others who are struggling “more” than I am. Helping marginalised and oppressed communities, marching in protests against war and genocide, etc.

This last point hits particularly hard because recently on various social (usually dating) apps, I see people talking about spending their Sundays marching in protests for Palestine, and how they are looking for others who are actively fighting for a free Palestine. And I am… not? Not because I don’t believe in the cause, but because I’ve not felt like I’ve had the capacity to, but it nonetheless makes me think I’m just not trying hard enough, or prioritising it highly enough.

I recently attended a discussion about capacity building. I went into the discussion not really knowing what to expect, but with the general intention that I sought more insight into how to strike this balance of how to support the causes I care about, while also acknowledging that I only have so much energy and time to do both that and support *myself*. I was heartened to see that others seemed to express similar challenges of trying to do self-care while wondering if they’re doing “enough” for others, and what, if anything, else they could or “should” be doing.

A good friend once told me not to “‘should’ all over myself”, which is to say that “should” is a tricky word that represents our expectations of ourselves which may be unwarranted or unrealistic. I try to keep this in mind frequently, but life is complex and there are so many things to “keep in mind” (especially when, as someone with ADHD, my working memory and ability is perpetually hampered).

This all feels quite vulnerable to share, but I think it’s important because while I am concerned that I am not “trying hard enough” or whatever, I also am aware that in some ways I am at a disadvantage (internalised ableism makes it hard to be OK using the word “disability”, though that is probably also accurate), and we are all at different places in our lives, have various challenges with our personal circumstances, and care about various social justice causes in the world (so many of which are important and disheartening at present), so maybe it’s OK to sometimes accept that we’re doing “enough” and “the best we can” in the circumstances, while gently challenging ourselves just a little to improve all the time, without too much judgement if, as happened to me today, the best we could manage was to get out of bed, and feed ourselves (oh, and write a blog post, apparently).