Temperance. To manage our thoughts, our passions and our desires. To balance our lives. There is a time, and there is a season. Moderation is the key to life. That’s what they say. Balanced people seem to get the most done. Patterns are reliable when it comes to knowing where our comfort levels are.
With passion, comes pain. For people in the arts, an unseen drive pushes people to stay focused until there is an exhaustive, physical pain that goes along with their finished product. For athletes to push their bodies to exhaustion, they have to have the mental strength to endure what is necessary to stand on the podium for the gold. If they are temperate, are they also successful?
“To moderate in action, thought or feeling” (Websters)
Our base, simple life’s desire is to live moderately. Well, some of us. To use caution when we speak. To show only a polite version of ourselves to the outside world. To walk cautiously through our social media or professional lives in order to blend in with those we wish to work with or, ‘like’ is a goal.
In the field of positive psychology, we often speak of the ancient Greek concepts of ‘the good life’, ‘the meaningful life’ and the ‘purposeful life’. These terms include in the conversation, the idea that to thrive, we also balance our good with our bad, our indulgence with our moderation, our passion with our scaling back.
But, should temperance apply to everyone?
What if, it’s all about goodness of fit?
As a writer and artist, a qualitative researcher, and a transitional eldurkin, I am at a stage in my life where moderation is for suckers. Well, that’s how the saying goes anyway. In truth, moderation has lead me down a path of complacency. It’s become the cage door that held my passion in check.
By tempering my feelings, I allowed someone to walk all over me. By managing my rage after a bad betrayal, I allowed others to treat me poorly, without retaliating with courage to stand my ground. By using temperance, I fooled myself into thinking that I had to meld into the crowd so that I would belong. (Too many times).
The Lived Experience, fearless
The thing is, while I was putting a temperate leash on my own passion, I watched people pluck my original ideas out of my social media and fly with it. I stayed in place while others ran past me to win the race. I felt caged by the desire to get along, instead of staying true and authentic in my tempest of an artistic heart.
The key to living a balanced, temperate life, is to know when to sit in our modesty, and when to open that cage door and fly.
To live out loud requires us to toss the modesty to the wind. Sometimes, temperance helps. And other times, throw caution to the wind.
About the Author: Karen Henry [Daly], MA CRM owns Henry Healing as a holistic well-being practitioner and writer. She’s a former university professor and current scholar practicing the infusion of positive, existential and community psychology. Living in the now!