Each day, I have to remind myself that I am indeed trying my best. Trying my hardest to wade through the chaos, keep my head above water, and remember what it’s like to enjoy swimming through life.
Trying my best used to mean doing everything possible to get something accomplished, often simultaneously, and working towards the next thing once complete. Trying my best to maintain the status quo, doing what I can to keep things on track. Trying my best to have it all together and have everything figured out. Trying my best to feel productive and useful and not fully disconnecting when I needed to stop. Trying my best was more about what I was doing to appear functional than what I was doing for myself.
My “best” looks a lot different right now. It’s not an old friend I recognize in a crowd. It’s a new friend, one that I am weary of, one that I am questioning, one that feels conflicting. My new best arrived during an incredibly unprecedented tumultuous time, one that my system has never experienced before. A time that does not have a clear end in sight. I had a lot of resistance to my new best. It made me feel lazy, useless, and irresponsible. The type of negative self-talk that derives from the socialization that taught us our value and worthiness are directly linked to our productivity.
My new best is about what I need from the day, not the other way around, and being honest about the process. I am listening to my mind and body first. My new best is satisfied with what I can accomplish, big or small, and giving myself the grace to accomplish nothing at all. My new best celebrates the small stuff. Waking up and getting out of bed each morning. Making sure I eat at least one meal, even when my appetite is off. Completing one chore or answering only a few emails a day. Whatever I have the capacity to offer has to be enough. And it is.
I can’t operate based on other people’s expectations of me or how I may see others coping. We’re all different. It’s okay if you need to shut down. It’s okay if all you can do is one thing. It’s okay if the only productive thing you did was cry; that’s a hell of a lot. When you’re experiencing distressing situations, you cannot expect yourself to function that same way as you normally would. It’s just not possible.
I invite you to reflect on what trying your best means to you now and embrace the messages that may come up. As long as it’s alright with you, you’re doing your best. And that is more than enough.
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Categories: Encouragement Corner