Strategies to Let Your Best Self Shine Through
Think of a time when you felt good, happy, content, or enthusiastic. How did feeling this way impact your attitude, your interactions with others, and your mood?
Compare that to a time you felt discouraged, frustrated, sad, or angry. How did that feeling influence your words and actions? Which scenario brings out the best version of yourself?
Imagine a sunny day with a clear blue sky. This is like the situation when our best self comes shining through.
But most of us have a couple of clouds that get in the way. They block the sun and block our true essence. One cloud is our survival instinct, that part of ourselves that is on guard, looking for danger, wanting to protect us.
The other cloud represents our wounds, scars, and raw spots that, when touched, can trigger a strong defensive reaction.
I appreciate how Frederik Imbo ties in this idea in his TEDx talk, “How not to take things personally?” Here are two strategies he recommends.
When our survival instinct is going strong and telling us that our partner doesn’t appreciate us or our coworkers don’t like us because they’re not including us in their weekend plans, Frederik suggests looking at the situation from the other person’s perspective and assuming good intentions. Maybe our partner doesn’t realize we would like more appreciation because their love language is quality time. Maybe our coworkers don’t include us because we turned down their last invitation, so they think we’re not interested in joining them.
Wounds and Scars
Maybe the other person’s words have irritated an old wound that we’re not even aware of. Maybe feeling under-appreciated or left out goes back to an early childhood memory of feeling hurt because someone made us feel like we didn’t matter. Maybe we were intentionally excluded by other kids we thought were our friends. Now we are extremely sensitive to anything that resembles those situations.
Frederik says this is a time to practice empathy for ourselves, and it’s a time to speak up and voice how we’re feeling. Letting other people know we would like more appreciation or that we would like to be included without blaming or getting upset can create a stronger connection.
See if you can practice these strategies this week and notice if they help you spend more time as your best self.