Don’t Beat Yourself Up: You Did the Best You Could

It’s been a rough few months – a rough year.

For some of you, this statement resonates deeply. You’ve had a rough year – A rough year at work; a rough year at school; a rough year concerning various “friendships”; a rough year concerning romantic relationships. It’s just been rough – sandpaper rough.

Well, the truth is, you’re not alone. A lot of us have had a difficult year. I know I sure have. This year has been filled with ups and downs alike. So much so that, in a moment of transparency, the stress of the year has affected my grades. And for me, this was a huge blow.

Throughout the course of my life, I have always done well in school. As a person who struggled greatly with low self-esteem during my youth (I am free from that now thank God!), my grades became where I placed my confidence. They were, at the time, the only thing I felt I could be proud of. That is until I met Alison.

During my sophomore year in undergrad, I was a Resident Assistant and Alison was my Area Coordinator. That fall semester had been incredibly rough and it was evident in my grades. I didn’t always get the A and this brought about feelings of low self-esteem. I was nearly killing myself working as an RA, Woman’s Basketball Team Manager, and taking two of our hardest professors in my department and yet still trying to get the A at all cost – even if it cost me my sanity and health. When Alison saw this, we had a deep and very much needed conversation where she said to me, “Janiece, excellence is not perfection.” I had tried so hard to be perfect that anything less than perfect meant that I wasn’t good enough. But Alison’s words hit home and stuck with me to this very day.

Yet, as I reflect on this year, I had begun to slip back into that way of thinking. It had been a hard year but I did not extend grace to myself. I had experienced loss but I didn’t allow myself to be human and all that it means. I had struggled in other areas and yet I did not show myself mercy. I was supposed to be great in every way. And while it is true that I am great, my greatness does not depend on my grades, relationships, status, etc. My greatness is innate – it is a part of my DNA. My greatness is because that’s just how God made me – and that’s how God made you too!

I think so often we place so much emphasis on doing well that when we miss the target, even by a little bit, we are so hard on ourselves. No, you didn’t get the A; No, you didn’t get the dream job; No, you didn’t get the relationship; and no, you didn’t FILL IN THE BLANK. But you know what you DID do? YOU MADE IT. You finished another semester. You survived and got free from a dysfunctional relationship. You paid the bill. YOU MADE IT. And THAT is worthy of celebration!

One of my colleagues posted their grades on FaceBook and it was a collection of A’s and B’s. Yet, they testified that after the difficult semester that they’d had, they still celebrate the progress that they DID make.

“It’s not my best…but it’s my best for right now.” -Alexx

Their words settled deep within me and I hope that they resonate with you as well. So, don’t beat yourself up. It may not have been your best on a good day. But after all that you’ve been through, it was the best you could do for the season you were in. And that, my friend, is the best you can hope for.

Peace & Blessings

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