Why I’m no longer striving to be the absolute best

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I have encountered a few blogs that post mostly about striving to be the absolute best or being a stereotypical “success” in life. It’s like they feel that nothing below the “best” is adequate and that not being the king or queen of the mountain, the head of the whole shebang, the crème de la crème, etc., is good enough.  I’m afraid I’ve not been able to continue reading such posts. Not so much because I don’t think I’d ever be capable if I put in 110% and had a little luck, but because sometimes and for somethings 110% seems like too much, especially if it breeds obsession, and feelings of inadequacy if you don’t meet such lofty goals. Such a difficult meal to cook can turn out to be inedible.

During a portion of my youth I strove only to be the best. In the beginning, the challenge thrilled me, but I’m afraid to report that the ride eventually got rough, and something had to give along the way.  I gradually grew irritable; the road to the goal grew miserable, and even the goal itself ultimately lost its appeal. Other parts of my life started to crumble; I could list a number of these parts, but trust me when I write they were numerous.  In the end I felt severe depression at times, and inadequacy.

I’d like it to be known that I do enjoy accomplishment, and depression is not an acceptable state to live in. Accomplishing goals is important in life for many reasons, but after realizing that needing/wanting to be the best was just too much, I finally found a little peace. I now know that easy to attain goals are what mean the very most to me. I’ve outlined below what I do think are important goals. The beauty of these goals is that they are satisfying no matter how big or small the success.  Though there are some “reach” goals I would like to achieve, I can assure myself that it is OK, if I don’t.

Gratitude not only for big things, but for the smallest things or achievements in life

  • Almost twenty years ago, I was so lucky to have met and married a man that truly loves me. I trust him. Even if we had to live on the street, I’d be grateful that I had him.
  • Though my backyard is very small, it has enough vegetation to attract numerous birds. By my screen name you can imagine I love birds very much. Seeing them every day is satisfying for me.
  • I deal with a mental illness, but I’ve managed to stay out of the hospital for over six years. Though I’ve had some depression lately, I feel it fading. Things are looking rosier. I knew they would, because I’ve learned that things do always improve with time.
  • Today I managed to clean up my house and run a long errand. Now I’m resting on my bed. I plan to make a nice dinner for my love. These, to me, are big accomplishments.

Finding and enjoying your passion

  • Well, I wrote this post. Writing has become a passion of mine. It allows me to be creative, reflect on important things in my life and even problem solve.
  • After I ended my obsession to be the best, I finally found relief. I could stop and smell (and arrange) some roses.
  • I give to others almost every day. Not just compliments and positive reinforcement, but other types of support.

Taking good care of yourself

  • I no longer dwell in a toxic environment or with toxic people. Instead, I feel comfortable and relaxed. People around me are friendly. I’m friendlier, as a result. That makes me feel good.
  • My harmful self-medication to cope with major stress is over. I’m receiving proper treatment for my illnesses. I follow the instructions perfectly.

I won’t lie and say I have no other goals to improve my life. I do. Abandoning the obsession to be the best doesn’t mean I stop striving to be better-rounded in various ways. I just don’t beat myself up for not having everything at this moment. I try to be happy in my current skin, and about my current accomplishments. I try not to beat myself up when I take a couple of steps back. Allowing this of myself is freeing in a way, but I do get inspired to move forward again. Setting reasonable goals (and not too many) is motivating.

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11 thoughts on “Why I’m no longer striving to be the absolute best

  1. Intentergy July 17, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Achievement comes in so many forms. Being the best of the best of the best is a lofty goal. Besides, whose to say who the “BEST” is anyway? I love you points about gratitude and caring for yourself. Enjoying our passion is a terrific way to make life worth living. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 17, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      Thanks, Intentergy. Yes, I have benefited from changing my priorities over the years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vandana July 18, 2017 / 3:30 am

    Wow! You expressed so well, these thoughts have come from deep within you. It’s the reason such posts are relatable and inspiring. The simple yet true stories of our lives. Remain blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jessica Bakkers July 18, 2017 / 7:50 am

    I love this post! This is something I need to do for myself. I never celebrate the little things (or medium things, or big things). I just worry about not being “the best”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bipolarsojourner July 18, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    (-: did you notice the slight irony of striving to be a little less than your best and staying on your meds perfectly? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 18, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      I’m not really striving to be less than my best, I’m just not killing myself to try to be my best. I find it unnecessary. But staying on my meds perfectly is a a definite. That’s not a matter of being my best, it’s a matter of necessity.

      Like

  5. bipolarsojourner July 18, 2017 / 2:09 pm

    i have found than doing my best an a moving and unattainable goal. when i reach “being my best”, it’s not enough because “best” moves closer to perfection. not only that, because of perfectionistic tendencies, my best was seldom good enough.

    the constant state of not being good enough, not measuring up to unattainable goals is hard on both the body and mind. the constant state of always being on high alert leaves my body continually stressed. that leads to me feeling tired. that’s heightened state and the perfectionistic tendency leads to constant state of flagellation leads to lowered self esteem and self worth.

    this contributed to my earlier depressions. that constant heightened state and diminished thoughts about myself lead to a inevitable slide. having learn to relax some, perfectionism, striving to be my best, still contributes to my depression but it’s less of a leading cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 18, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      I agree that expecting perfection is a very fruitless and harmful goal. Or at least I think you are agreeing on that.

      I went through a phase when I expected perfection, and then learned the lesson. Unlike you, it usually led to manic episodes with mixed features for me.

      Like

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