Simple concepts, put into courageous action=amazing outcomes.
For example, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t made assumptions
4. Always do your best
Thinking on February’s challenge to myself to cultivate more self-compassion, I jumped straight to #4. And here are the words I found: “Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best — no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets. Just do your best — in any circumstance of life. 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. By always doing your best, you will break a big spell that you have been under.”
To me, these thoughts are balm to the wounds of perfectionism that I have self-inflicted over the years. Perfect is unattainable and far exceeds my true best. No wonder the pursuit of perfection is so exhausting! And to expect more than my best at any given moment is hardly self-compassionate. When I am tired or sick, my best will be less than when I am refreshed and healthy. And I shouldn’t beat myself up over that. When I am new to a practice or habit, my best will be less than when I gather more skill or knowledge. And that’s quite alright. And, perhaps most freeing to me — my best will NEVER be the same as anyone else’s best. So stop comparing! And stop judging, for that matter. I can never truly know when someone is giving me the best they can for the moment and when they are not.
Being the best I can be already feels better than trying to be perfect. How about you?