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Embracing Authenticity: Let Your Best BE Your Best

Hello loves!


Today marks the end of the Embracing Authenticity series! I've had so much fun writing this series and I hope y'all were able to get some encouragement or advice out of it! (Or at the very least, I hope it was entertaining)!


For this last part, I wanted to focus on what I think is the most important and simultaneously most challenging part of living an authentic life. And that's by simply letting your best BE your best.


I'm sure all of us have heard that timeless saying "Just do your best & forget the rest". It's catchy, rhymes and on its surface has a simple but powerful message. It encourages us to try as hard as we can and to be content with whatever the outcome is. As long as we know our efforts were genuine, that should be all that matters.


In the world of content creation and other forms of media, there's been a desire to see more authentic stories. To see the "raw and real" sides of other people just "doing their best". The world seems to be fully in favor of the movement that encourages others to share their real stories, mistakes and all. On paper, this seems like the best time to embrace authenticity and let our best be the best in our day-to-day lives.


And yet, perfectionism and anxiety are both on the rise.


Why?


Some might say it's a result of the constant comparison game we play with strangers on social media. And yes, that is definitely part of it, because seeing celebrity teenagers own multiple houses (their own, not their parents), while most normal people your age are still in apartments doesn't feel great. But it's not the full reason.


I think the issue is that we as a culture have gotten stuck in this mindset that 'trying our best' = 'earning perfect results' every. single. time.


For some reason, we've fallen into this trap that when we try with all our might and it DOESN'T work out, then clearly we didn't try hard enough. Regardless of if, on some primal level, we know we did the best we could with the knowledge and tools available, we have a hard time believing that. It's difficult to accept that sometimes life just doesn't go our way and there's honestly not much we can do about it. That's not our fault by any means, it's just how things go.


But we don't accept that. Instead, we internalize the mistakes we may (or may not) have made. We go over the parts of our plan that didn't work out, call ourselves stupid for not seeing the *clear* error, and promise we'll do better next time. Because next time it WILL work the way we want it to... So we hope.


And okay, disclaimer, yes I believe in pushing yourself, on growing in every area of your life, and trying to be better every day.


But I also believe it's important to push ourselves with love and grace.


Think of a baby trying to learn how to walk. The baby looks around at all the bigger humans in their life and thinks "well if they can do it, surely I can too!" So they push themselves up on shaky, chubby legs with a stool for support. The baby is so proud of themself for managing the difficult task of balancing on two legs and thinks "I mastered this! I can walk no problem!"


For those of you who've ever seen a baby try to walk, you know what happens next. For those of you who haven't, picture that scene of Bambi walking on ice for the first time.


Now imagine when this metaphorical baby falls (and that is a WHEN, not an IF) that an adult walks over and starts berating this baby for not doing better. They tell the baby that they clearly didn't try hard enough or else they'd be walking. Obviously, it's something wrong with the baby and the baby was being lazy and all the other negative self-talk you've ever believed after a mistake was thrown onto this baby. Because this baby fell during their first-ever attempt at walking.


Like goodness, we would all view that adult as a horrible monster.


But when we make mistakes in our lives, despite the fact that we tried so stinking hard, we become that unreasonable, cartoon-level villain of an adult.


I caught myself doing this the other night during a work-out class. For context, I am not someone who has ever done any sort of weight training in my life (until yesterday). I'm a running and yoga sort of girl, and if you had told me I would be doing something with barbells for exercise ever I would have said absolutely not.


But due to work-related shenanigans, I found myself in a weight-lifting class surrounded by mostly strangers. And about exactly 10 minutes into the workout, despite giving it my all, I felt that negative self-talk start to creep in.


You're terrible at this.


Look at everyone else, they're all getting it. Why aren't you?


You're being so lazy right now. You can do the heavier weights if you actually tried.


For the first half of that class, those thoughts stuck around and I began to believe them. Despite how hard I was trying, I still kept thinking it wasn't enough. Every time I had to take a break or couldn't keep up, I told myself it was because I wasn't doing my best (even though I totally was).


But then halfway through, the Instructor told us that she was proud of us. That we were all doing amazing, that this was our workout and that our pace was the best pace for us. And to remind ourselves that this class wasn't about being perfect, it was about proving that we can do hard things.


And that, loves, is exactly what I think doing your best is truly all about.


Your best effort at anything is not defined by the outcome or by how much better at something you are compared to others. Your best today isn't even defined by what your best was yesterday.


Doing your best simply means that you gave it your all. That you pushed through, whether it was snail or rabbit-paced.


Your best is when you decide to announce to yourself and to the world that you are capable of doing hard things.


So be kind to yourself. Face your mistakes with the same grace and patience you would show to others. And no matter if your best leads to "success" or not, don't let that dim your true self.


You are all wonderful, amazing, super-rad humans who are doing their best every single day. Don't give up <3


Love y'all!


(Also, I know last week I said there would be an announcement so: Starting next week, I'm bringing back Fiction Fridays! It'll be every other week because work and life and junk, but I promise I won't leave a story hanging... again... Oops.)


“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” --2 Corinthians 12:9-10








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