"She is so lazy."
"He is so unreliable."
"Why can't she ever follow through?"
"Why do I always have to organize everything?"
"Why are people so [insensitive/nosy/uncaring/selfish] *insert adjective of your choice* ?"
Do any of these statements sound familiar? How many times have you thought and/or said one of them? In my case, it has been many times. Too many to count - too many, period.
The other day I was grumbling to my husband about someone who hadn't done something. Trivial stuff.
He said the following to me that was so unexpected and profound, I have been thinking about it ever since.
"Remember one thing: Everybody does the best they can."
Wowzer! I was silenced. I had honestly never looked at it that way. Was it true? Do we really do the best we can?
In trying to figure out if he is right I have been thinking about my own life: my job, relationship, friendships, housework, fitness, and all the other countless aspects that make up a life. While I'm sure there are lots of ways to do things better, Richard has a point: Would I know them, I undoubtedly would do them.
There is a fine line between being too hard on yourself and not being hard enough. Always berating yourself for not being better, quicker, thinner, faster, richer, further along in your career is toxic - but shouldn't we also strive to become better versions of ourselves?
While there are aspects in my life where I feel confident that I am doing the best I can, there are also some where I could improve. Or at least I think I should. So why don't I?
Because, while I think I should do more, at the same time I am doing everything I am capable of. Which brings us back to Richard's statement: I am doing the best I can.
There are lots of people who are better than me at lots of things: There are better daughters out there. Better friends. People with more patience, better listening skills, more wisdom.
While we can't change the fact that we are flawed human beings who will make mistakes, say things we might regret and laugh at the wrong moment, there is one thing we can do:
We can do our best to be better today than we were yesterday.
I can pick up the phone and call my parents more often.
I can make more of an effort to see the people that are important to me regularly.
I can offer my support and help.
I can put my phone away when someone talks to me and give them my undivided attention.
I can stop myself from laughing at the wrong moment ... no, who am I kidding, I will never be able to do that.
While I won't always succeed in these endeavours, I will give it my best shot - after all, that's all any of us can do.
Do you agree with this statement? Or do you think some people could do or be a lot more?