You often talk about a “best self” and the ways people should either
live that themselves or permit others to do so. I can guess what a best
self might be, but I wonder what your workaday definition is?
It’s when you like yourself.
Or, when you’re getting the
most out of your strengths and succumbing the least to your weaknesses.
It’s highly personal, but here are some ideas for cultivating strength:
you doing things that are meaningful to you; well-suited to your
interests, skills and talents; and challenging enough to keep you
Are you with people to whom you want to be kind; who
reinforce your good choices; and who don’t inspire persistent doubts
about whether they’re dependable, genuinely fond of you, free of
ulterior motives, honest with you?
Are you that person to those you love?
Do you take responsibility for your choices and their consequences?
Do you honor your promises and commitments, to yourself and others?
When you are impressed by, grateful to or concerned about someone, do you show it?
Do you forgive?
Are you representing yourself honestly, to yourself and others, creating no facades to maintain?
you take care of yourself — in small ways like flossing and in big ways
like thinking through potential consequences before you act? And do you
put yourself first in ways that sustain you, to minimize your burdening
As for taming weaknesses:
Do you realize your needs have the same status as everyone else’s? And you’re not the hero in every encounter with others?
Are you mindful of your flaws and demons?
Do you make choices that put distance between you and your temptations?
Do you resist the impulse to blame others when things go wrong?
Do you understand the boundary between your and others’ business, and stay on your side?
When you’re unsure, do you admit that and seek help?
you’re about to express negativity or a criticism, do you ask yourself
whether it needs expressing? And imagine how its target will feel?
When you fall short, do you admit that? To those who most need to hear it?
all of these questions hinge on solid self-awareness, I’d call Step 1 a
brutally honest assessment of what you bring to the party — and how
you’re most likely to wreck it.