Redefining Best

I see you all, out there doing your best, yet still feeling like you’re falling short; giving what you have to give and then, in hindsight, feeling inadequate.

When will we be able to acknowledge and feel comfortable knowing that our efforts are enough?

Only when we give ourselves permission to. Only when we stop looking outside ourselves for what defines best. Only when we unlearn how to qualify what best means.

We must stop trying to measure best. We must stop comparing bests. We are judging what we believe to be others’ bests against our own, and – not to mention – we’re trying to cover too many areas with our bests, which leads to mediocre everything.

Best is relative. The variables of best are endless. Best does not stand up to comparison, competition, judgement or critique.

Best is not linear; yesterday’s best could outdo today’s, and yet, that doesn’t mean that today’s effort wasn’t you showing up in the best way you could.

Best is a snapshot; intangible, liquid, fleeting.

Our best is what we have to give in any given moment. It changes, day to day, hour to hour. Our best can look weak or strong, calm or chaotic, but that does not change that it is what we have to give.

Best cannot be measured; it is a moment in time where we use the tools at our disposal, our knowledge as it stands in that moment, and there is no ruler that can quantify the results.

Our best is never perfect, and it may not be equivalent to success. It does not have any less value than what our best looked like yesterday, or what it may look like tomorrow.

Giving what we have to give is always enough. Our best is always enough.

Say it again. Say it over. And over.

Our best is always enough.

Why are we consistently beating ourselves up for giving everything we have to give? Berating ourselves for our best not being “as good” as someone else’s?

Do your best. Learn, grow, practice, train. Then, do your best. Don’t berate or belittle it, or hold it up for comparison. Recognize it, and own it. One day, our best might look like movement, and another it might look like sitting still. It may be reaching out to connect, or insulating ourselves to refuel. It is constantly shifting.

Achieving best is a cycle that we repeat until the end of time, and it is entirely internal and personal.

Best is a practice, not a destination.

Follow the Leader

Lately, I’ve been a bit fatigued with the conflict between who I am and adopting the characteristics of a person that I want to be; there is an array of emotions that I’m surprised about having on this journey.

How do we acknowledge and appreciate the characteristics of others, yet not lose ourselves in wanting to become something we are not? There are times where the acknowledgement comes as a detriment to ourselves, working against our natural inclinations, our authentic selves, to achieve something that isn’t meant for us. Comparison, and striving to compete, overshadows simply growing into better versions of ourselves.

I need to replace the feeling of lack, the fear, the worry, and the guilt with something. I’ve had so many conversations with women who feel the same.

A friend shared over a Ted Talk recently about filling our lives with joy, and the line at the end, “putting yourself in the path of joy more often,” resonated deeply with me. With this one line, I worked out a bit of the tension I have been feeling.

When you’re on the same level with joy, there is little space for guilt, worry, fear or lack.

If we each were more intentional in chasing what brings us joy, who would we be? If we were joyful, and sought joy on purpose, not by happenstance or by hoping and wishing for it, what would our lives look like? So much of how we view ourselves, others and our lives is rooted in our mindset; comparisons would dissipate and we could acknowledge and easily celebrate that which brings joy to others simultaneously with that which brings joy to ourselves.

As my youngest’s fourth birthday looms tomorrow, I am reflecting a bit on her impact in my life. Our kids teach us more than we could ever hope to learn about life, and she may be my greatest teacher when it comes to joy. She sings with abandon, dances every second that she can, races from discovering one magical thing to the next, and sees wonder in absolutely everything. She is very black and white about what brings her joy; if it doesn’t spark joy, she creates resistance around whatever “it” may be.

As adults, I think we’ve become adept at allowing and justifying the opposite, and we are drowning because of it.

So today, and tomorrow, and the days following, I will try harder to take her cue; I will intentionally seek to put myself in the path of joy. I will celebrate other women for the characteristics I admire in them while reminding myself that there is a wealth of joy to be found within, too.

little girl, running, field, flowers, carefree, joy, joyful, wonder