We are all doing the best we can. Even when the best we can is doing less than enough or nothing at all. Sometimes, that’s our best.
I used to be able to hold a handstand for what seemed like ages. Now, 1.5 years post-op on my wrist, elbow and arm, there are some days I can float into a handstand and hold it for a little while and other days I can’t. These days, I can’t ever hold a handstand endlessly like I used to.
Does this mean I’m not doing the best I can? Sure I am. But every day is different.
Every “best” is different.
My life circumstances have changed. My body has changed. My criteria for what “best” means has changed.
When you’re feeling frustrated with yourself or others, it’s valuable for your own self-preservation and mental health to know that we are all doing the best we can. Even on days when it seems like we aren’t, whatever you are or aren’t doing is all you’ve got to give/do/be that day. Thus, you really ARE doing the best you can in that moment.
Here’s a simple tool to use when you’re telling yourself that you aren’t doing your best —
Ask yourself the following questions and jot down your answers:
1) What’s happening in my body right now?
2) What are all my thoughts about not doing my best right now?
3) What are the judgments I have about myself right now?
4) If I was to exercise radical self-compassion right now, what would I say to myself?
5) If was to exercise radical self-love right now, what would I need in this moment?
6) Read answers 4 and 5 out loud now.
7) If was to trust that I am doing the best I can right now, using the loving & self-compassion from #4 and #5, how would I soothe myself now?
8) Make a list of 3 simple things you can do in this moment to soothe yourself. Choose at least one and do it!*
*These might be as simple as 5 deep breaths, drinking a cup of herbal tea, re-reading your lists from #4 and #5. It doesn’t have to be complicated to shift your focus and cultivate compassion from within.
By pausing, turning inward, and bringing awareness from all angles to your call for love, you can start to make profound changes in your life.
Once you can start to identify the sensations of your body, you’ll gain new awareness about the information in your mind. You’ll shed light on the signals in your body that remind you what “not doing your best” viscerally feels like.
Through all of these levels of awareness, you’ll begin to cultivate compassionate for yourself and others. You’ll start to shift the neural pathways in your mind and create new connections in your body. And then you’ll have the skillset and awareness to create space for acceptance – for yourself and others – around the variability of doing the best you/they can.
Be gentle. Go lightly. Honor your own best, even when it’s not your personal best. Finding the gentility within yourself is another beautiful way of loving yourself.