So, what does it mean to be your best self? The question is simple. Does this mean we get to sleep the right amount of hours? Does this mean that we always eat healthy? Or does this mean that we’re always on time? Nothing goes wrong. Nothing to see here, just keep it moving. Is that it?
Life is easy, right? Is that what it means to live at our best? Does this mean that we can find peace within ourselves, effortlessly, as if nothing could be wrong?
Or, does being our best self mean that we have become so stoic that life has no impact? This would mean that we are neither hinged upon passion or dependent upon outcomes. But instead, we would endure and flourish regardless of what comes our way.
So, what does it mean?
What does our best self look like?
Is this us without a bad day? Does this happen in spite of bad days at the office or when we find ourselves at the brunt of a person’s disloyalty?
Life is still going to happen to us. Isn’t it?
At our best or worst, our external life is not going to change according to our schedule. No matter what happens or if we succeed, tomorrow is still going to happen.
We can literally lose everything we have and the traffic lights are still going to work the next day. People will live their life without a pause; yet, what does this mean for us?
We can either support the inner stoic or we can give in to emotion. This means we can either scream or cry or we can act accordingly, adjust ourselves, accept what happened and then move ahead.
Someone once said that loving a person is not about what makes them great. Instead, loving a person means that you care in spite of anything that is not great. Meaning nothing else matters. Therefore, is love without challenges? No. Are we without challenges? Not at all. But love still occurs if we allow it to. We can still flourish and we can still achieve. However, the choice is simple, which is not to say this is easy. But instead, this means the choices are clear. Either we face everything or we run.
But let’s be clear about something. Life comes with its own unique and individual pressures. Simple living to some is difficult living to someone else. But still, there is a pressure to be, think, live and to live our life in a certain way.
But, before we personalize this, we would be doing ourselves a great disservice if we didn’t realize that this pressure is nothing more than a social construct: To love the right way. To be the right person. To live, think and feel in accordance with the common norm.
Is this what it means to be at our best?
Or, is our best self like the version of true love? In which case, regardless of what happens and our faults or mistakes, regardless of looks or weight, blonde hair, blue eyes or anything else, our best self is when we can see ourselves in the mirror at the end of the day and face our reflection with a constructive conclusion.
This is us at our best.
However, our judgment is often the predicament. Our comparison to others is what becomes our deficit; in which case, we can do one of two things. We can face ourselves with ridicule and judgment. We can run away from something or we can run towards a plan. We can find a goal and create a strategy. This way, we’ll never have to run away from something again.
We can run away and find any port in the storm. We can save our own ass but always remember something: You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.
We can hide. We can act and we can pretend. Or, we can find the drive within us. We can face the damage and find our passion. We can improve our determination. We can learn to withstand and to endure. Moreover, we can create a goal and give ourselves a picture of what we want our life to look like. After that, we can make it so.
Living at our best does not mean that the best is always going to happen. However, if we are at our best and regardless of whatever happens, nothing will ever degrade our potential because we’ve learned. We’ve become anti-fragile, which means no matter what happens to us, we only serve to improve.
The question still remains. What does it mean to be at our best?
Or better yet, what does it mean to have a good life?
Does this mean that we’ll have no regrets?
Does this mean we’ll never wonder what would have happened if we turned left instead of right?
Or, perhaps living a good life means that regardless of what’s happened; or whether we turned left or right, either way, we’ve learned. We’ve grown. We’ve adapted and we’ve improved. What’s more, when the chance to love and live at our best arises, we are unafraid to take the risks.
Either way, a good life is always moving forward. A good life is not rethinking or reliving the past. A good life is not spent litigating arguments that no longer exist. A good life is certainly not wasted on arguments or changing the unalterable. A good life is based on acceptance of what was.
This is an understanding of what is and an effort to improve ourselves –
one step at a time.
There is no pill or perfect fit. And as the saying goes: into each life, a little rain must fall. To improve ourselves or “be better,” we have to address the science or pathology of what holds us back and keeps us from reaching our best.
No one will ever promise that life will come without pain or challenges. No, not at all.
We live in the real world, in which case; things go wrong. People hurt each other. We do and say the wrong things.
We find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control and if we are at our best, then this means no matter what we’ve faced or what we’ve endured, we have learned the secret of our endurance.
We have learned to fall down nine times and get up ten. We have learned to accept ourselves, exactly as we are, with faults and all – if we are at our best, our last thought is to compare ourselves to others. But instead, this is when we recognize us for who we are, without judgment, and without the dialogue in our minds that somehow keeps us under.
The truth is we are accountable for our actions. We are responsible for what we’ve said or done. This is life. There’s no getting away from this. Life comes with mistakes.
I’m sure this is true. But, in order to be better or at least better than we were yesterday, we have to find a way to navigate away from our past.
We have to find something to hold on to. We have to create a new conversation in our head. Otherwise, our regrettable yesterdays are doomed to repeat themselves.
We have to find something to grasp and keep this close to us. This is something that whether it’s tangible or not, we can feel it. We can hold it. Whether figuratively or literally.
We have to find whatever it takes to improve. Otherwise, the idea of our best possible self is no different from the version of our worst.
No one ever said this was going to be easy. Then again, no one ever said the voices in our head would always be kind and friendly either.
It’s hard sometimes.
It’s hard to find hope when the internal dialogue is hopeless.
Or, if we go back to the experiment we learned about as kids in science class, remember?
There was an experiment about talking to plants and how this helps them grow.
There was another project, however, which is equally important. This project took place in a controlled environment where two plants were given the same planter, same soil and the same lighting. However, one plant was always complimented and the other plant was always bullied. One plant was nourished and the other was not.
One was given love and the other was shouted at and shown hate.
Guess which plant thrived and which plant was lacking.
Think about this. We do this to ourselves sometimes too.
If we think about the way we talk to ourselves, are we kind? Or, do we bully ourselves like the experiment in the lab. Are we kind? Or, are we always shouting, always persecuting and always damning ourselves for not being perfect? (Or at our best.)
Whatever our best is, it’ll have to do. Life is out there and whether we feel great or not, we still have a race to run.
So, be mindful of the internal narrative . . .
And at all points possible, remember this quote: You’ll never speak to anyone as much as you speak to yourself. So, be kind.
It beats being cruel.