What the heck does that mean?
A dear friend was asking me recently: what the heck does it mean to be the best version of yourself?. This wasn't a question due to a midlife crisis or moment of enlightenment, but as a reflective thought and consequence to the continuous bombarding of the media (social or not social).
So to be the best you can be, means that you must have different versions of you I guess. But also presents a challenge... which one is the best??!!. And to be honest, who are the others and where are they??!!.
So I promised her I would write this post to bring some clarity, so Bea here it is all for you with a big warm hug attached!!.
Before I go on and I try not to start rambling I decided to do a quick Google search. And this is what I got:
"Becoming the best version of yourself means that you're going to move away from where you are, so you must be willing to shred your old self. When you're raising your own bar, you're essentially creating a gap between you and people around you".
The bit about "creating a gap between you and people around you" it is rather disturbing so we might leave that discussion for another day guys.
Next thing, I found this article in the Times where they give you a list of 21 tips to be the best version of yourself. Number 11 is one of my favourites go check it out and tell me what do you think please.
Anyway, here is the deal my dear friends: lots of hype and fancy words are not necessarily what we need or a true representation of the process of unveiling your true self. Which is not in any way the same as "becoming the best version of yourself" and I'll tell you why.
So which version are you?
I find that when I hear this super great statement it sounds like a direct instruction, as if God was talking down from the Heavens telling us what to do: "Elora, be the best version of you!!". Like if it was judgement day and He/She was pointing out that whatever we are right here, right now its obviously not right, wrong, not good, not good enough or just second best.
The question is: which version are you right now? the best? the worst? average? and how do you know it?. But, does it really matter?
Be mindful of the hype...
So, here are the challenges presented by this super cool phrase from a mindfulness point of view:
- Can fuel an overactive Inner Critic.
- A constant fixation in the gap between were we are and were we want to be. If the gap between our reality and our vision is very big it can promote anxiety, stress and depression.
- We focus in what we don't have or are, moving us away from self acceptance and/or non judgement.
- We can't create a new reality with the same mindset that created the reality we are in the first place. A learned behaviour takes place at subconscious level. A phrase is not going to change that but self-awareness and a lot of personal development including therapy in most cases.
- Nobody really knows how do you become the best version of you. And how can we know if there is only one of you in the first place??
You are the best version that you can be... already!
So, to solve this mystery and not to fall into the traps listed above we would set a specific premise:
To be the best version of yourself implies that we are not in a happy place emotionally, physically, mentally, energetically, financially, etc... so we want to CHANGE.
But here is the trick: no matter how awesome you are, you'll never be perfect. To have every element and dimension of your being at it's full potential is not naturally possible. You can't have rain, draught, cold, sun, heat, wind, breeze... all at the same time. Unless you live in Ireland of course!! jokes aside... it is not possible, full stop.
So... how do we eat this elephant? well, one bite at a time and with a huge dose of acceptance. Whatever is in your life right now... is there for a reason. Whatever you are right now, is the best you can be otherwise you wouldn't be what you are. Whatever it is, is perfect as it is. And for that, we need to embrace and love all that there is, and all that we are... right here... right now. Not as an intellectual exercise that we understand mentally... but emotionally.
Now, if you believe that being the best version of you is a matter of material gain, the car, the house, the travelling, etc... then I will ask you to come back again to tackle that in a future post. Or please send me an email!
So what "be the best version of yourself" should really mean?
The concept of being the best version of yourself (unless we are talking about multiple dimensions) is inherently flawed. Yet, there is a spirit or a sentiment behind it that gets diluted by the limitations of language:
The best version of yourself is your true self.
And your true self is the essence of who you are at soul level beyond the influence of culture, conditioning, limiting beliefs, physical limitations, etc...
Your true self is not a consequence of life happening to you but the reason to be right here, right now. Your true self is capable of expressing and manifesting its full potential whatever that is, whenever you are ready for it. It is not a matter of being a better version, or an ok version, or worst version. It's a matter of as Google says: be able to "shred your old self".
But you'll need to do this over and over until the labels of the identity you have adopted fade away. And in that process what you can be or were doesn't matter anymore because the present moment is all you have and all you are because in that present moment we are able to live life to the fullest. And that's the only version we are and we should live.