Philip's story: finding balance in life and in my friendships

In all aspects of life, balance is essential. From the food you eat to how you spend your time, it is important to find a healthy balance. The same is true for relationships of any and all natures. Love and respect are important for any relationship, where we can push each other to try our best. This is also true for relationships with ourselves!

Hi, I am Phil (18). Finding a healthy balance is something that I have learned over time. To say my first year of secondary school was busy would be a considerable understatement. I would spend almost all of my free time exclusively working on homework or studying, and I even set myself projects to do off my own back. At the time, I thought I was doing what was expected of me, and I didn’t see too much of a problem with it. Talking to other people in my class, a task that took them 30 minutes to do, would take me two hours. Not because I didn’t understand the task, but because I spent so much time attempting to reach perfection. 

Looking back, I can see how my frame of mind was not healthy. I certainly enjoyed the praise I received, and said praise fueled my drive to reach perfection. At the end of the first year, I won the award for the most positive points in the year group. In year 8, things began to change. I started to see just how unbalanced my relationship with myself was. I continued to work hard, seeking perfection, but I was left largely unrewarded. A high standard of work was now expected from me by my teachers. I became completely exhausted. I remember one art project where I was given half of a picture, and I had to draw the other half in the same style. I completely broke down. I found the task incredibly difficult, but I came to realise that perfection was not always possible. 

And that is okay.

Photo of Philip

From that point onwards, my outlook changed. I balanced my time so that I could enjoy both my studies and new hobbies, such as learning to code in several languages, railway modelling and flight simulation. Ultimately, I enjoyed my time in school more! This remained true throughout my A-Level studies, and I hope it will be true when it comes to my university studies. I still work hard, and I can still be hard on myself at times, but not as much as I was before. Being able to reflect on our work or actions, can be helpful. It can be good to challenge ourselves as long as we treat ourselves with kindness and respect. 

In talking to other people, I have found that people find balance in different ways. I moved away from the mindset that I had to compete with everyone, it's more about doing what I need to do, for myself, to thrive and be happy. I learned to become my own cheerleader. Being able to find your own balance can help to improve your relationship with yourself, and with other people.

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