There’s a lot of pressure to be the ’Best.’ What, though, does ‘the best’ actually mean? We can generally consensus that the best relates to a level of excellence, high quality and a general sense of being ‘better’ than someone or something else. This puts the measurement of ‘the best’ against an external marker, either judged, awarded or as perceived by another. In doing so, we make these designations based on face-value perception, such as when looking at social media and comparing ourselves as ‘better than’ or ‘less than’ another. This practice fails to recognize the full picture and story of each person’s life. In truth, we all have unique situations and circumstances that we come against every single day. On no two days are we ever the same, and because of that, being ‘the best’ varies from day-to-day and from person-to-person.
The need to be 'the best' frequently comes from comparison against someone else’s achievements. When we take a narrow look at what someone else has accomplished, it leave us feeling the need to surpass them, or more dismally, we may mark ourselves as unable or unworthy to achieve the same. When we do either of these, we diminish our unique experience and the many layers of hard work we put forth each day. Using an outsider’s perspective, we idealize someone for their outward portrayal, yet we have absolutely no idea what that person endured or sacrificed, or the level of commitment and hard work they put into their accomplishments. We view their world against our own through a perceived lens, crafting comparisons based on little or no solid background.
Maya Angelou wrote ‘do your best and when you know better, you do better.’ In this context, ‘the best’ becomes more about our current circumstance and situation, acknowledging our possibilities and limitations. Rather than comparing ourselves against others to define being ‘the best,’ what if we look in our hearts and give ourselves freedom to evaluate our personal truths for the day (or the moment, month, year, lifetime) and work to attain ‘the best’ we are capable of achieving? When we can look more wholly and honor our individual truths, we give ourselves the ability to show up in our uniquely best way every single day. This comes from starting where we are, understanding that our capacities for achievement vary from day-to-day, from moment-to-moment, and will always look different, not only to others, but especially to ourselves. By looking from our internal, we give ourselves equal footing and even playing ground, because we define what being ‘the best’ means, against our own experiences.
In ‘100 Days to Happier,’ Domonique Bertolucci writes about setting an intention ‘to be your best every single day.’ The beauty here is that this goal will always be attainable, because it allows us to consider all the fluctuating variables from day-to-day and minute-to-minute in our lives. In this way, we remain in integrity and can feel certain we are showing up as our absolute best selves, no matter the situation. When we know we have put forward our energy to do the best we can with the circumstances at hand, we will always achieve our ‘best.’ This may sometimes mean that our best doesn’t measure up to others’ expectations, and that sometimes it doesn’t measure up to our own expectations. When either happens, it offers an opportunity for grace and full acceptance, for acknowledging that the best we achieved today was in fact, the best we could do that day. It’s not about rationalizing the challenges which threw us off, the obstacles that lined up, nor how hard we worked to persevere. Instead, we hold our accomplishments in our hearts, reminding ourselves that our ‘best’ was still achieved, despite the circumstances stacked against us.
Revisiting Maya Angelo’s quote, if we do learn something new, or have different circumstances on the next day, our measure of ‘the best’ may exceed the measure and capacity of today. Should we find that we know better, and that we could do better, this is an opportunity to ask: what's in the way and how can I do things differently? Resisting the temptation for self-criticism, and using this time for intrinsic learning to develop a relationship within, we gain better understanding of our goals or intentions and what it takes to achieve them. When we act with diligence to simply achieve the best we can, we own the outcome. If we desire a different result in the future, we may inquire if we need more knowledge or different skills, and then actively work to acquire them.
So, go out there and look in the mirror and ask yourself: what does my best look like today? And once you know, then live to your full potential, in your unique circumstance, and trust that you will show up in the ‘best’ way you can, just for today.
Written by Jen Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective
Jen is a RYT yoga teacher specializing in restorative and yin yoga practices, a Reiki Master Teacher, and internationally certified wellness coach. She works with clients to achieve an overall greater balance of health, energy and wellbeing in their lives.