I recently read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl’s advice always seemed to, either directly or indirectly, speak to the concept of being your best self, encouraging her advice seekers to be honest and compassionate with themselves and/or those in their lives.
This concept of being your best self, even the simplicity and elegance of the phrase, has stuck with me, causing me to give a lot of thought to what my “best Kristen” would act like. In no particular order, here are the qualities and behaviors I think my best self has (or could have):
Evaluating my own reactions; in other words, not getting angry or upset so easily. Using rationality over emotions more often to avoid unnecessary words or actions.
Letting go of things I don’t need and things that I can’t change; releasing negative emotions like anger, hurt, judgement, fear and other feelings that don’t serve me – only love, positivity, determination, and compassion do.
Having confidence; always feeling comfortable in my own skin, owning my body and knowledge and experience and not being afraid to take up space.
Being productive; doing things that serve me, mainly writing and accomplishing tasks/goals that I have, as well as reading and spending quality time with people I love (not spending so much aimless time app-hopping on my phone).
Also taking time for myself; a bit of unproductive phone time, but mostly healthy, reflective activities like morning walks, workout or yoga sessions, and the above listed activities.
Giving; to be generous with my time and attention and material things, but with healthy boundaries.
Learning; being open and ready to absorb new skills, information, and to meet new people.
These are definitely not the end-all, be-all of “best self” attributes, but the entire process of coming up with this image of my personal best self has been cathartic and motivating. Especially because, while I was in the middle of giving my list thought, I had an appointment with a craniosacral healer, Jamie VanDam. She spoke to me about making clear intentions and being aware of the energy I allowed in as well as the energy I was emitting outward.
Each of these ideas – being my best, setting intentions, being aware of energy – were ones I was familiar with, but not as fully immersed in before I thought of them together after being first inspired by Cheryl Strayed and then through my craniosacral work. I am not saying that you need to read any of Cheryl’s work or to have energy work done on you – though both are wonderful things – but they seemed to be the dominoes that tipped together to help me take a new approach to self-improvement.
I hope you find the things or people that inspire you to reflect (and act) on what does (or could) make you your best self.