As the year is rolling to an end, I have been talking with counseling clients, course members, and friends about what their vision is for the coming year. This line of questioning has caused many of them to pause, to consider, and to attempt to come up with the “right” answer. It also seemed to bring up lots of judgment and a view that they should be in a different place right now than actually they are. Many of the comments I heard were about harshly comparing where they are now to where they want to be, placing expectations on how they should be able to handle what comes up in their lives, and then excitedly pushing where they were in the moment away as if it were bad.
And then I had one client come in and this question brought out a totally different answer. She told me that in the next year, she was planning to simply do her best and to focus more on doing things that she loves and that she wants to do. She talked about spending time with friends, scheduling trips to places she has always wanted to go, and creating time for self-care in the form of getting regular massages and working on healthier daily habits.
In looking back over this past year, she was able to identify times when she really beat herself up because she was comparing herself to her former boss at work, because she was judging her ability to be the best parent ever, and because she was not upholding healthy boundaries around what she needs to feel her best. She could see how she lost time feeling shame and discounting the value of her contributions in her life. She stated that her goal for 2019 is to just do her best every day and to go from there.
And a shaft of light came down from heaven… or maybe that part was just in my head, but I definitely wanted to high five her and hug her and tell her that she was going to be just fine.
In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz tells us that we should not expect our best to look the same every day- that it will depend on all of the contributing factors in that moment as to what our best will look like. He wisely points out that “It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself, there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.”
And this feeds into the work from the great Brene’ Brown on building shame resilience, connecting to our true selves, treating ourselves with compassion, and showing up to be seen as we are. Brene’ guides us to live our lives from a place of understanding that we are imperfect AND worthy of love and belonging.
Once we can begin to live from the perspective that we can hold within us both imperfection and worthiness and we begin to build our lives, our thoughts, and our decisions from that point, we can live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Ah, expansion and growth, here we come.
So, as we are looking back in review of 2018 and looking forward in our visions of the future, let’s try on the idea of planning to do our best. Of course we can have external goals, but what if as we are making those goals, we ask ourselves how we can do our best in working toward that goal? What if we take a new perspective on recognizing that until we take care of ourselves, we will find great difficulty in the journey toward who we really want to be.
So, here’s to doing our best!
You know I will be trying right along with you.
Let’s chat soon,