Assuming the best

Best I canWhen my kids were young, they had a teacher that I clashed with, constantly. I didn’t get her. Granted, I was far (said with the most emphasis you can imagine) more conservative, stuffy, prideful…oh just keep going…than I believe I am today. There was a way my kids should be taught. The experience in school and extracurricular activities should be handled in a certain way. I had many opinions. I was even president of the PTA for awhile and it’s fair to say the school staff probably laughed about me as “that parent” over wine.

Deep breath. So thankful to not be that person anymore. Granted, my kids are adulting and turned out awesome, if I do say so, in spite of the control freak ways I went about their early childhood.

Back to that teacher. Here’s the interesting thing. Through the magic of social media, I have learned that she and I, we’re not as different as I thought. In fact, some of her parenting situations are no different than mine. And, thinking back on it from the space I’m in today, I can understand the approaches she had with her students and have much greater appreciation for it.

Once I came to this realization, I rolled it around in my head for a couple weeks. And, not coincidentally I believe, I had other experiences, other learnings, in that time, that made me take a step back and look at myself.

One that was impactful for me was a lesson in the Brene Brown Daring Leader class I’m enrolled in. The general message was that people are doing the best they can. Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in.

I’ve heard this before and appreciated the way Brene talked about it, saying that she was skeptical of this concept. Honestly, I can be, at times, too. But the thing about it that I can identify with is that given their circumstance (which is not your circumstance) and the skills they have, the vast majority of people don’t want to suck. I believe people want to do well. They desire to do the best they can. You may not think that because you compare them to you and how you would handle situations.

News flash…other people are not you.

The person sitting next to you in a meeting? They may be facing a difficult situation at home – or may not have had the education you have. Conversely, they may be brilliant and you feel like you have the intelligence of a two year old next to them. Either way, in that moment, you’re doing the best you can, and so are they. Take it further. Let’s say the person next to you shows behavior you’re not a fan of. Are they doing the best they can? Might be hard to stay in that space, right? But if we extend the grace we hope others are extending us, I’d say yes. Again, people don’t want to show up and suck. Really. I haven’t done the research, but I feel pretty good about that “fact.”

Authentic-self time. I encourage you to do this with me. Am I doing my best? Am I living authentically? Having conversations I need to have? Living and speaking as my true self? I don’t always feel that way. But, the still small voice in my head would say yes. Each moment, I’m showing up the best I can. Doesn’t mean there aren’t different ways I want to show up, but in that moment? Yes, I’m doing the best I can. That’s not a copout, it’s reality, one which each of us faces every day. If there’s more I want, different ways I want to live and show up in the moment, that’s on me. That’s where being brave – combined with self-compassion and grace – takes over.

I feel like staying on track with the authentic self is a day by day adventure. I’m going to continue the conversation in my social media this week. You know by now my head is always working on something, so get ready! I’m going to be brave and I hope that you will be in looking at yourself and your relationships too!

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