About a year or two ago, I read a really great book recommended by a friend (Painter, if you’re reading this, I’m pointing to you.) The book is called The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Go, write that title down, and read it.
Anyway, I recently picked the book back up. My mom and I tend to get into these “philosophical—meaning of life talks” and something about our last conversation lead me to sharing pages of this book with her.
We had been discussing a family member of mine who has gone through a very hard time recently. She left a job where she was needed, respected and comfortable to start in a new place at the bottom, with little confidence and a larger work load. The driving force behind this decision was money. Of course, what else would drive someone to make a decision like that other than needing more money….?
In less than a year she realized how overwhelming such a change could be and how little happiness the extra money brought her. The worst part of the entire ordeal seemed to be her feeling of inadequacy. In this new place she was not as competant, slower to finish and overal ljust exhausted. She could not cope with the fact that she was no longer the best one for the job. People did not think she was the right fit. So, she and that job parted ways.
My mom and I continued our conversation and began talking about the idea of perfectionism. A trait that runs so fiercely through our veins. The need and desire to be the best at everything we do—school, work, relationships, everything. We are all our harshest critics; overly worried about what other people will think of our performance.
My family member couldn’t stand the idea of not being “good enough”, about not measuring up to other people’s expectations. I can relate. I often feel like I go above and beyond in a lot of areas of my life because I want people to see that I am good at what I do. I often forget to ask myself if what I am doing is good enough for me and me alone.
This is when I shared this specific quote with my mom. My original intent was to put into perspective my family members situation. I ultimately ended up reminding myself that other’s opinions are just that. opinions. Here is the quote I am referencing:
"I am sincere, and I tried my best. WIth a sincere motivation, one of compassion, even if I make a mistake or fail, there is no cause for regret. For my part I did my best. If I failed, it was because the situation was beyond my best efforts."
Why have I not always remembered that?! (probably because I’ve been too worried about what other people are thinking) & even then, people can perceive things a multitude of different ways. It is possible to fail when giving it your best. and all in all, that’s just fine, scary, but fine.
So my take home from all of this is: always put your best foot forward, be sincere, be motivated and be OKAY with not always being the best. Life will go on & we will all be better for it.