Written by: Ashley Van Brabant, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Ditch comparing and create a life well-lived.
In our westernized culture, we are encouraged from every angle to be our best, to do our best, and strive for better. We are obsessed with constantly improving our home, relationships, health, career, and whatever else we perceive needs some extra work ethic. Everywhere you look in our culture, a variation of ‘be better’ is blasted in our face. As sensitive souls, we can’t help think that to find success & happiness. We need to sculpt who we are to reveal our hidden potential. We need to meditate, buy a diffuser, manage our stress, and tone our bodies to have a life worth living.
But, what if our obsession with being our best was actually the thing in the way of creating our true desires?
The intention behind being our best is supportive and motivating. Except, best is a word that finds meaning in comparison and judgment. For example, in a competition, the gymnast that comes out on top is the one that, compared to others using predetermined judging criteria, was superior to their competition.
This isn’t to say that comparing is wrong. It’s an excellent tool for decision making, think of pros & cons list, super helpful. However, in the context of comparing who we are and all that makes us human. It’s like walking in a forest and trying to judge the best tree. Even with criteria, it is impossible. There are too many to choose from.
Additionally, unless we have created our OWN criteria, it’s natural to default to society's criteria. Reinforcing the monotone ideas often does not have room for our diversity, let alone the broader gender, ethnic or spiritual diversity found in humanity.
When we listen to people changing our culture, like Brene Brown, they are precise with their language. For example, Brene uses the term ‘whole-hearted.’ It’s descriptive and specific. We can feel what it means.
Simply changing our words has a profound effect on our perspective because it changes our meaning. It’s the difference between saying "live your best life" and "live a life well lived". The former causes images of the usual status symbols like fast cars and giant houses, whereas living a life well lived causes a more personalized vision of our unique values.
A simple switch can make all the difference. Below are some phrases I hear myself and my clients say that can cause us to self-sabotage and an alternative option to using instead.
I need to be better about __________. Alternative: I am being different about ________.
I am trying/doing my best. Alternative: This is what I am capable of right now __________.
I am improving ________. Alternative: I am expanding my ability to __________.
My best self is __________. Alternative: I am _________________.
Often striving for our best brings many worthwhile changes to our lives, but if we stick with it, we get the comparison, negative self-talk, and a feeling of not measuring up. Instead, if we use small language shifts, we can keep the worthwhile changes and create space for our unique selves to shine.
Resonating with this message? If you are a sensitive soul trying to improve your quality of life and create a better world, check out the Rise Up! Uplevel Challenge Starting April 26 for 5 daily 15 min challenges to uplevel your mind, body, soul & community.
Ashley Van Brabant, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ashley Van Brabant is a Belief Re-patterning Practitioner, founder of The Adventurous Spirit, and creator of the Unlearn & Uplevel program. Growing up in rural Alberta, she was a sensitive soul with a passion for horses, nature & spirituality. Now, she is a transformative spirit standing for equality, leadership, hope, and adventure. On any given day, you will find her with her horses, snowboarding, or having hard conversations about environmental, social, and political issues.