As our life evolves and grows, we take on different roles in different stages in life. We are daughters, and maybe sisters as well when we are born. We become girlfriends, fiancés, wives and daughters in-law when we are married. We become mothers when we choose to have families. It’s natural that we want to be the best in whatever roles that we take on. However, trying to be the best also brings on a lot of stress and internal conflicts.
I have come across a mother who constantly feels she is not the best mum but she is trying. Another mum wishes she had spent more time with her daughter when she was young to witness more of her milestones instead of being out with her girlfriends. A daughter wishes that she had spent more time with her parents when they lived in the same city. A working mum feels guilty leaving her kids at home when she wants her night out with her girlfriends to keep her sane.
I, too, share the same feelings. It’s never easy when we have more than one role to play. We try to do the best job we can. However, I feel that the best that most of us try to achieve is not our best. Rather, it’s the best defined by others.
As modern as our world is, there seem to be definitions for being a good someone – a good mum, a good wife, a good daughter… And the same goes for men, too. These definitions consist of expectation, idealism, tradition and much more. But what they don’t consist of are some very important factors such as our personalities, our personal needs and preferences, our readiness, our forever changing situation…!
Ironically or not, many of us measure ourselves against these definitions. When we don’t measure up well, we feel bad. We feel guilty and we try to justify for not fulfilling the definitions.
There is no one fixed definition of being the best mum, the best daughter, the best wife, the best woman, or the best anything or anyone in that context. We are all different. And to use the same yardstick to measure every one of us is just plain crazy. The society that we live in does seem to box up certain actions or behaviours as being the best someone, but that doesn’t mean we should slot ourselves into those boxes as much as we all like to be accepted and recognized in some way. When we do slot ourselves into those boxes, I feel that’s when we start having internal conflicts. Conflicts that don’t generally exist in our own peaceful world until we want to fit in to a place where we don’t belong to.
We can only be the best of ourselves. When we live our lives consciously, we naturally strive to be our best for whoever we are. There is no award in being someone that we are not even if it’s considered the best.
If we missed out spending time with our parents when we were younger, it’s because we weren’t ready. We were not in that space to be that best daughters that we want to be now. If we missed out whatever milestones of our kids, that’s ok, too. We weren’t there for a reason and that reason was good enough a reason at that time.
Being ourselves and being our best needs a lot of personal space. We need to give ourselves permission to have that space to be who we are, not justifications for what and who we are.
Indeed, there is a fine line between being selfish/self-centered and self aware when we define our best. We can’t always just do what we like and ignore everyone else around us. We have to find where that fine line is. The only person who knows you is you and, therefore, you are the only one who knows where that fine line stands.
No one can make us feel bad or guilty about anything. We are responsible for our own actions and emotions. When we start doing what works for ourselves, not to others, we will no longer need to justify our actions to anyone, including ourselves.
No one has all the answers to everything. We are all good at something and not so good at other things. We can’t use what we know and how we feel now to regret something happened in the past. We were us then, and we are us now.
The hindsight gives us awareness for present and the future, not guilt for the past. The hindsight gives us wisdom, not regret. The hindsight gives us reasons and motivations to be our best, not just the best. If it wasn’t the past, we won’t be where we are and who we are now. The past is a blessing, not a curse.
Give ourselves permissions to be us. Choose wisely and be mindful. Be the best of ourselves in whatever role that we take on instead of being the best of the roles that is defined by others.
Be the best of you, and be the best of me.