Virtue is a habit of the mind, consistent with nature and moderation and reason. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Being moderate is doing just enough for you… working enough and resting enough. I don’t mean doing just enough by being mediocre or complacent, no, no… that would be going to the other extreme and that’s not good. Moderation simply means creating balance in your life. It means using self-discipline to keep from overdoing it, like stopping before you go overboard. But, moderation is even more than that. It’s a specific kind of balance. It’s being conscious and aware of what you’re doing. And, recognizing that too much of any good thing is bad. Even a virtue, when pursued to excess, crowds out other virtues and causes harm.
When you practice moderation you have balance between insufficiency and excess. For example, while talking too much can be disruptive, not talking enough, you get ignored. And when there’s a discussion, your special way of thinking about things will be missing from that discussion. So, knowing the right balance is the key to moderation if you want to be kept from being blown about in the wind of your wishes and successes. Without moderation you can get swept away and damage yourself by things like drugs, alcohol, or crime, then becoming addicted, you want more and more and more.
And, even things you like can hurt you if you have too much…. like too much television, too much time on the computer or too much chocolate. When you have too much of something, you find yourself out of control. With moderation you get what you actually need and others around you benefit as well.
- Getting just what you need – not too much and not too little. You don’t take more or less than what you need of food, exercise, playtime, others’ time, rest or sleep. Take just enough to satisfy your needs.
- Learning your own limits. You need to know what is too much or too little for you? People are different. For some people eight hours of sleep is too much; for some it is too little. Examine your habits over time and be honest with yourself about what you’ve observed.
- Practicing wisdom and self-discipline. It’ll help you get what you need. If you need nine hours of sleep to he healthy, make sure you get nine hours. Self-discipline helps you to stop yourself before things get out of hand or go too far. If eating three helpings of chocolate cake is over the top and past your limit, then maybe two would be kinder to your stomach (not to mention others who may want some cake!)
You’ll know you’re practicing moderation when you’re taking care of your health by getting enough of what you need and are content with it. Also, when you use self-discipline to stop yourself from overdoing it, give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re now in a conscious state of well-being… you now have balance in your life. Keep it up by setting healthy limits and boundaries for yourself and you’ll be on your way to practicing moderation. Don’t over-do or under-do, but find what’s just right for you… I dare you.