You Are Doing the Best You Can!
As I write this post, I am attempting to manage a hectic work week. I am in the middle of a 45-hour intensive training, seeing clients, answering emails, and maintaining some of my social life. Is this going as planned? Hardly, but I am accepting that I am doing the best I can. This statement, or the willingness to accept that in the moment you are doing what works to be effective, given the circumstances, is a key component to maintaining a positive relationship with yourself. Beating yourself up, focusing on the “shoulds” or past and not accepting that you are trying, leads to unhealthy and low self-esteem.
Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it . . . This will miraculously transform your whole life. — Eckhart Tolle
Thinking "I'm Doing the Best I Can"
Maria is on a diet and traveling for work. As she waits at the airport, she feels her stomach growling. She was in such a rush this morning that she forgot to pack a healthy snack. As she scours the food court full of decadent, calorie-laden options, she settles on something a bit more caloric than she would have at home. She is aware of her empty belly and recognizes that she has a 6 hour flight ahead; so she tries to find something that will keep her from making a poor choice later. Given the circumstances and her hunger level, which are vulnerability factors, she accepts she is trying. Rather than focusing on the emerging negative thoughts - “If I only remembered to grab my snack” or “I can’t believe I forgot it, I am so stupid.” - she reminds herself she is doing the best she can.
Accepting You Are Doing the Best You Can
Giving in to negative thoughts about our choices or ourselves can be demeaning and ineffective. No one can change the moment, and sometimes the moment sucks. Awareness of your feelings and allowing yourself to have them is natural. However, letting those feelings drag you down is a huge hit on the path to building self-esteem.
Life’s messy and unpredictable. You don’t have to like every moment of it or every circumstance you find yourself in. However, by being willing to accept that you can’t change the moment, you are adding to your growth and level of self-acceptance.
The key word here is acceptance; it allows you to become a more effective problem solver for the future. For Maria, she had the urge to get angry with herself for skipping the salad and eating a more satisfying meal. After turning her mind back to the notion that, given the circumstances, she was doing the best she could and temporarily accepting it, she was able to calm herself down and look up healthy restaurants in the area of her hotel. She began planning ahead and felt confident about her next few days and maintaining her diet. If she went down the path of berating herself, she may not have come up with this plan.
Practice Being Non-Judgmental
The thoughts “it is what it is” or “I am doing the best I can”, are essentially nonjudgmental, some may say mindful. By bringing awareness to the moment, you are able to observe and inhabit the moment with more precision. Contrast that with clouding your head with negative thinking. This takes a willingness to slow down, to connect with the now. It sometimes feels impossible, however with practice you can begin to notice your thoughts and feelings taking over.
- Start small, accepting little blunders throughout the day without too much judgment of yourself or others
- Practice mindfulness
- Remember no one is perfect
- The past is the past, it happened, and sometimes this is painful
- Tomorrow is an opportunity to try again, so is two minutes from now
- Notice when your mind shifts to “should”, “could”, “would” thoughts, accept them and try to let them go.
- Write “It is what it is” or “I am doing the best I can” on a mirror or sticky note to remind yourself.
- If you have the urge to problem solve when you are judgmental of yourself or find yourself too emotional, take a 30 second breathing break and focus on your breath or an object. For just a short amount of time, shifting your focus from your thoughts can help you become more mindful and in the moment.
Take Good Care.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
LPC, E. (2013, April 24). You Are Doing the Best You Can!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2013/04/you-are-doing-the-best-you-can
Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC
Think for a moment—when a woman is happy and fulfilled (as a function of taking care of herself!), is she more or less able to give to her family? Making time to take care of you will enhance your capability to take care of your loved ones and your many responsibilities. Consider the emergency plan on an airplane. Taking care of yourself is like putting on your oxygen mask first, and then taking care of your children and those around you.
So, make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes on extra busy days. Do something you enjoy that rejuvenates you, that helps you feel good about yourself, or energizes you. Take a few minutes to enjoy a favorite activity (e.g., a hobby, read a good book), take care of your body (e.g., exercise, take a bath, eat something healthy and delicious), or whatever you need to rejuvenate. Take a moment to consider everything positive about you and express gratitude for wonderful things in your life. Lastly, just notice, observe the difference in how you feel when you do and when you don’t make time for yourself. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you do! Just a little love for yourself will make a big difference!