Tag Archives: balance

Are your “wants” and “shoulds” in balance?

You and your relationships depend on it.

If you only do what you want to do, you will get exactly what you do not want. -Kristin Barton Cuthriell

Marsha Linehan, founder of dialectical behavior therapy, stresses the need to balance our “wants” and “shoulds.”  Dr. Linehan suggests that we look at what we do because we “want” to do it and enjoy doing it, and examine what we do because it has to be done and we “should” do it.  She urges us to try to keep the number of each in balance.

When the balance is tipped too far on the “wants” side, other important areas in our life will be neglected including our most important relationships.  When life becomes all about us and what we want, the end result will be exactly what we do not want.

When the balance is tipped too far on the “shoulds” side, we will become grumpy and resentful, which will also negatively impact our closest relationships.  We will come to resent all that we do and will most likely take it out on those around us.

Balance is key. 

Try this.

Make a list of all the things that you want to do and a list of all of the things that you should be doing.  Then strive to keep the number balanced even if you have to ask others for help or turn down unwanted requests.  Your health and your relationships are worth it.

Suggested areas of your life to examine:

Time with partner, children, extended family, friends, spirituality, job requirements, finances, home improvement, exercise, diet, recreation, hobbies, time on computer/cell phone/social media, errands, household duties, yard, charity, meditation, doctors appointments, vacations………………..

Take some time to prioritize and balance so that your scale doesn’t tip too far in either direction.


Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan. 1993 The Guilford Press.

Balancing Your Energy

Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell, M.Ed., MSW, LCSW

What would happen if you were to drive your car without ever stopping to refuel?  You guessed it.  You would run out of gas.  Your body is no different.  If you continue to run, without taking time to refuel, you too, will stop.  Your body needs to maintain a balance of energy to function properly. Continue reading