How These Three Words Transformed My Life
The daily mantra that changed my relationships and gave me inner peace
In my 24 years of existence, never have I ever actually accomplished a New Year’s Resolution; i.e. go to the gym, go vegetarian/vegan, make more art, quit smoking/drinking, etc, etc. Now I’m 99.9% sure that most of you can relate to this one, because 99.9% of you has had someone ask you, on January 1st of every year (most likely out of some weird social obligation on that date),
“So! what’s your New Year’s Resolution for this year?”
And you’ve probably listed at least one of those items above. If not, then probably your own version of it in some way.
I’m not gonna lie, the week prior to January 1st, 2018, I did list those things. I was sure that I was going to accomplish them because 2017 was absolute shit for me. I was heartbroken, deeply in debt, and just had no direction in life whatsoever. I was adamant on making 2018 my best year yet.
Yet, this annoying little voice in my head spoke the real truth that I just couldn’t waver.
She said, “HA! Seriously? Who are you kidding? NOT gonna happen.”
And she was right. It wasn’t going to happen. I’ve gone through years of trying to accomplish the same long list of resolutions but they have never ever come into fruition.
That week, I went through a myriad of self-help and productivity articles. From 15 Super Effective Ways to Cultivate Great Habits, to The One Secret You Need to Know to Be Successful. I read about Buddhism, compassion, spirituality and daily affirmations, all that jazz. I needed to figure out how exactly I was going to make 2018 my best year yet.
Eventually it got to a point where it was too much. Too much information, too much noise. Too many different ways to achieve the same goal:
How can I be truly happy?
So after much contemplation on what my resolution was going to be, I decided to just dumb it down to three simple words:
Do Your Best.
That’s it. Simple. Do your best. Everyday.
Now I know that it’s only been a month and a half through 2018 but hear me out on this.
Applying these three words to every aspect of my life — work, family, friends, and myself — has changed the way I view myself and act towards others.
Instead of looking in the mirror and telling myself, “I am enough. I am beautiful. I am talented. I am amazing, and if they can’t see that, then screw them.” I just tell myself,
“Just do your best today. Even if you fail, at least you know you gave it your 110%.”
The former affirmation gives me this illusion that what I’m doing right now is enough. I am no longer capable of improving. I am what I am, and if people aren’t willing to accept that, then they have no business being in my life. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to put up with people that mistreat you. You also have to show up for yourself, and make sure that no one is taking advantage of you.
To some extent these affirmations provided a boost in self-esteem. It may work for others, but in my own personal experience, they haven’t. I still found myself extremely unhappy, not being able to reach my full potential in the work that I do and the relationships that I have.
The latter, on the other hand, gives me room to be more humble and add value to the relationships in all aspects of my life.
How do I show up for work? How do I show up for my friends? How do I show up for my family? Am I being the best employee, co-worker, daughter, and friend that I can possibly be? How can I be the best version of myself so other people can be the best version of themselves?
In the words of Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins,
“It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”
Telling myself to do my best does not give me the illusion that I’m this super incredible person and that people need to earn my time and effort before I give it to them. I’m just a regular gal. I’m nothing special. But hey, how can I help? How can I still be myself, and add value to your life?
Telling myself to do my best everyday helped me to realize that I need to give first before I receive. That whatever I put out into the world, I will receive back ten-fold.
It has taught me to be proactive instead of reactive. Instead of looking for validation from words from myself or others, my validation comes from my actions and the vibes that I put out in the world. In return, I have gained so much love and respect from my co-workers, friends, and family.
This has transformed my relationships, and consequently, my inner peace. And so at night, when I’m in bed thinking about my day, whether I failed or succeeded, even if I experienced a setback in reaching my goals, even if I had a disagreement with a loved one, I can peacefully say to myself, “Hey, you did your best, and tomorrow is another day to do even better.”
“Each day when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone’s life.”
- James Mann
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