Monday, April 1, 2013

We Are All Doing Our Best—Including Me

I recently saw this quote pass by my Facebook feed:

“…Remember that everyone is doing the best they can from their own level of consciousness.” – Deepak Chopra

I had a major reaction brewing to something that happened this morning.

I knew exactly what this guy was doing, as he stole my parking spot and then glared at me righteously. Of course, I was in a hurry, and he (clearly) was not.

He had a good laugh as I hopped out of the car and ran inside Target, intent on picking up stuff for lunch before my 9am meeting.

Then, a thought crossed my mind.

That guy is doing the best he can right now.

I thought back to thirty minutes earlier, when a guy cut me off getting onto the highway. I let him in. I actually slowed down to a stop and let him in.

That’s pretty different for me…

But I noticed something else, too. After I let that guy get in front of me, the guy behind me let someone else get in front of him. His bumper had practically kissed mine just seconds earlier.

I wondered if he saw my gesture and decided to do something different, too.

Recognizing that everyone is actually doing their best at any given moment helps me feel a lot calmer. It means that I’m nicer to everyone around me, too, because I don’t have the chance to get wrapped up in whether or not someone is doing the right thing (which really means, are they doing it my way?). It isn’t judgment flowing out from all of my pores—it’s compassion.

I’ve tried incorporating this thought into my day to day life lately, and it seems to be working.

Of course, the person I use it on the most is myself. Especially since my mom died.

In some ways, I feel like her death hit the reset button on a lot of the hard soul-work, personal growth, and emotional evolution I’ve traversed over the past three years.

I could spend hours listing all the ways I have failed in the last four months. All the mistakes I’ve made. All the things I should or shouldn’t have said. And of course, let’s not even talk about how generally reactionary I’ve felt. And the instant I try to resist feeling the grief, my old control issues rear their ugly heads (yes, that’s a multi-headed monster) and then at some point, I turn into a blubbering mess, cry it out, and feel somewhat better.

No—better isn’t really the right word… maybe just open. Yep, that’s it—open.

I have so many daily (hourly!) opportunities to beat myself up.

(I am an expert to the extent that I think perhaps a framed certificate might be in order—if only a notion like that didn’t glorify it.)

My boyfriend says he isn’t sure he’s known anyone who’s as hard on themselves as I am.

So, yes—I have this problem of being really hard on myself. Don’t we all do that, though? Don’t you?

Well, one unexpected blessing I’m discovering in all of this grief is that I pretty quickly grow exhausted of beating myself up. I’m finding that I really just don’t have the energy for it.

The truth is…

I am doing the best I can in this moment.

Perhaps that is not my Very Best Ever. In fact, I’m certain it isn’t.

But for this moment—it is enough.

And there is something deeply, eternally comforting about being enough. We are all enough, of course—but when I can truly rest in that feeling, when I allow enough to sink into the marrow of my bones, I feel a beautiful and utterly pure sense of relief.

And today, that is enough.