What helps you be your best self? And what takes you further away from it?
Who is your best self? What are they like? Can you describe them? Can you feel how good it feels to be them?
We all have many positive qualities and attributes. Sometimes these are hard to see for ourselves, but we may get them reflected back from others.
We naturally focus on our flaws and shortcomings, rather than on the things that are good about us. Nobody wants to be arrogant or big headed, and nobody wants to be seen as full of themselves.
So I smiled when I saw a video of Oprah being interviewed recently. She said that she loves it when people tell her that she’s full of herself, and that she is full of herself! She’s full of all of her gifts and talents, and full of love, which means she is overflowing and in a position where she can give so much, and offer so much to the world.
This really struck me, and I see that it’s true. Both in myself, and the people I work with. When we’re full up and feeling good, we’re in a position to think of others, and to want to help. We want to serve and make a difference, because we feel so lucky and we have an abundance of love and energy inside us that we can freely offer, without needing anything back. Because we’re already full up.
On the contrary, when we’re not feeling good about ourselves we have very little to offer anyone else. Because we’re so focused on our perceived shortcomings, or on the things we’re not happy with. On the things we need to fix or improve. We shrink back into ourselves, become withdrawn, and sometimes angry and ashamed.
We look outside for approval and validation, for other people or things to make this better for us, and to make us feel good. We become needy and we look to get at every turn. Unfortunately anything we do get, when it comes from this place of lack, will never feel like enough. We’ll have an insatiable appetite for it, and there will always be more that we want, or more things about ourselves that we need to obsess over or change.
We can become worried, and feel small and powerless in these cases. Things can feel very threatening, and we focus on those threats to our wellbeing instead of on being our best selves, which takes us further and further away from our own core supply of peace and wellbeing.
So what if we could love and accept ourselves instead? Exactly as we are right now. For the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. What if we can understand that we all have a mix of traits and qualities, some that we’re fonder of than others. But what if we can show love and compassion for the parts of ourselves that we’re less fond of? What if we can accept those, and then get back to focusing on the things we most like about ourselves?
This can seem self-centred or narcissistic, and maybe it is a little self-centred. But it’s only from that place, from focusing on ourselves, from becoming centred, and from filling ourselves up that we can really go out into the world and be our best selves. Where we can look to give, support others, and make a difference, rather than being on the lookout for what we can get, and becoming involved in transactional relationships.
We become much less irritable, much less needy, much less demanding, and much more loving, much more compassionate, and much more of a joy to be around in general. So how can this bad?
I invite you to start looking at what you can do to fill yourself up. To start focusing a little bit more on all the things you like about yourself, and when you like yourself the most. On the difference you make just by being you, and taking time to let any compliments or words of praise that anyone gives you really soak in.
To really feel into your best qualities, and who the best version of yourself is. Who you know it to be, and how you can be more of it, every day. Noticing how much fun you can have being you!
Then you can take that person out into the world, and be there as your biggest, best and brightest self. Everyone will benefit from that, and everyone you meet will be touched by that.
So fill yourself up and see the ripple effect – both in terms of how much better you feel, and the generosity you’re then able to offer others.