Doing my not-best

Four Agreements cards time, with big thanks to Don Miguel Ruiz.  I have drawn a card which is kicking off a bunch of ideas in my head.  Today’s card comes from the Agreement Always Do Your Best.  The card’s lesson today is:

Your Best is Changing All the Time

Your best will depend on whether you are refreshed in the morning or tired at night. Your best will be different when you are happy as opposed to upset, or healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Okay, first an explanation:  my best used to be pretty bad, because my depression, low self-worth, and general mood were such a weight on me.  I understood if someone told me that my parents did the best they could.  But I had some difficulty seeing what I was doing as my best, even when I could not try any harder.

And then everything changed, for me, and I began to live in a way I could think of as my best.  See, that self-judgment was there right along, but because I was happy, and telling the truth, and communicating fairly well, I could be kind to myself, and think about how much better my best is now, better than it was before.  In fact, what I felt was that I was doing my best, and that I hadn’t been doing so before.

This week, my best was not anything to be proud of.  I published speculation and private information without first consulting the subject — Dad.  I allowed feelings of frustration and hurt from decades ago color my writing about him, and I truly did him a disservice; I hope you will accept this apology, Dad, while I gather the list we talked about.  Your input with that will make it far more interesting.

Anyway, I am back to the feeling that I wasn’t doing my best at all, and that I’d better get back on the ball, or I’d be in big trouble.  That entire sentence is direct communication from 10-year-old me, with no intervention by my new, happier, more adult self.  I find myself feeling like I can’t win my dad’s approval, not because I screwed up, but rather childishly because I was only thinking about myself.

Please excuse me veering slightly off subject.  Anyway, I feel like I failed; not that I did my best, which I did if I consider that I was that 10-year-old writing about her Daddy.  I was quite apparently not a grown woman, just days shy of 52.  I think I still have work to do around the idea that my best is always changing, and not always getting better.  And, to quote Stuart Smalley from Saturday night live, that’s okay.

No, my best is what I do when I am living fully, even if I’m screwing up, or angering someone, or failing miserably.  As long as I am trying as hard as I can, with honesty and integrity, I’m doing my best.  I was not doing my best last week, and I don’t feel that way because I wrote opinions, without even considering talking to Dad first; rather, I did not do my best because I allowed that angry little person to hijack my fingers.  I can make places for her to get out — this was not a good choice on my part.

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