I’ve been thinking lately about what it means to “do your best”. The reality is that we are inherently flawed and have a limited understanding of our own and others’ motivations. This impairs our ability to always do what is best or wise. There’s no getting around this. Additionally, we all have a narrative of who we are that makes our choices make sense to us, but that often are destructive to ourselves and/or others. This makes repetition of our limited choices easy, and meaningful development hard.
My work is helping people see what they can’t yet see about themselves (and others), so they are more able to make wise choices in their lives. Despite our inherent limitations, life demands that we live and choose anyway--which can have profound and often undesired consequences.
Besides wise input, the only antidote to our blindness is conscience (the light of Christ or the Holy Ghost), which sometimes is just a whisper in the storm and it's easy to ignore---especially when there are social pressures and our egos shouting back.
I’ve come to believe that “doing our best” is never the absence of error. Making mistakes and choosing, despite "looking through a glass darkly", is essential to learning and refining our inner compass. "Doing our best" then is the courage to follow our conscience despite lack of clarity. Doing our best is the willingness to acknowledge wrong in our choices and learn from them. Doing our best is to forgive ourselves and life for this essential, humility-inducing process and courageously move forward anyway. The benefit of doing our best, i.e., following our conscience despite the sacrifice of our external image, is that it always pays us back with more clarity and wisdom. It also gives us increased confidence in our ability to handle life, and better relationships because we become more honest and trustworthy in the process. To be a partner or parent who is truly doing her or his best, is a gift to ourselves and the world.
- Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife