If you’ve been following me you’ll notice a theme in the last few posts. I am in my final exam period of the semester. which means that I haven’t really had much time or energy to write. Or breathe, eat and see my friends and family.
But last night I got fed up with studying. After spending fifteen minutes re-reading the same two lines I realized my mind needed a bit of a break. Normally I would have just gone to sleep, but with so much caffeine in my body that was not really going to be an option for the next little while.
Instead, I binged watched a bunch of T.V shows, did some push ups, started re-watching The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (damn, I forgot how good these movies are!), called a friend to remind her I existed, and at around 1 p.m fell in to a WordPress deep dive.
I ended up on a post I had read a few weeks back [read it here: https://damngirlgetyourshittogether.com/2017/07/06/the-beginners-guide-to-positive-thinking-in-three-difficult-steps/]
and it got me thinking…
First off I’ll just say that the writer of that blog is hilarious- definitely go check her out. Secondly, I agreed with pretty much everything she wrote there- we really are just trying our best, and when it comes to giving other people the benefit of the doubt that is definitely my approach to life. In general I like to believe in people. I like to believe that we are all giving our 100 %. It’s just that everyone’s 100 looks a little different.
When it comes to myself though, when I need to give me the benefit of the doubt, it gets a little harder. Instead of giving me a feeling of letting myself of the hook I find that “trying my best” can be very stressful. I don’t know about you, but when I do my best I give it my all. To some people my 100% looks a lot like 150% most of the time. It takes a lot of energy and will to give my best. And some days I’ll feel like I’m just falling apart because of that. That I don’t know how long I can give my best for. And what if what I think is my best is really not? what if I can push myself further? well, then it’s a never ending commentary in my brain. More then that, when I give my best and it still feels like I’m falling short- well, then it’s really tough to swallow. To look at myself in the mirror.
Call it perfectionism, call it self deprecating or judgmental – it’s all true. I’ve always pushed myself to higher standards then is maybe necessary, and beat myself up continuously when it didn’t go the way I imagined.
And in a certain moment this year I realized that it’s impossible to live like that all the time. That whoever coined the term “do the best you can” probably meant it to have a calming affect- as in “nobody is perfect and as long as you give it your best shot you did well”. And a lot of the time that’s probably true. But I want to add something to the phrase- I want to say “try your best. but if you can’t do your best- that’s also OK”.
A few weeks ago I woke up in the morning with an anxiety attack, dreading something I had to do later that evening. And although anxiety is a constant part of my life I hadn’t had an attack like this one for a little while. Being exam period it’s not like I had nothing to do that day. But for the sake of my mental health I made the executive decision that I was going to do whatever I needed to get through the day. Even if I know that being productive and working out is a better way to diffuse some of the stress today I will allow myself to curl up in the fetal position and listen to musical theater albums because that is all I can manage right now. It is not my best. It is not even close. and for right now that is perfectly fine. Because I can’t always do my best.
And sometimes “trying your best” also means “love yourself with all the cracks and bruises and flaws you have. love yourself even though you did not do your best today”
So try your best, but if sometime you can’t do that- that’s OK too.