The Reasonable Best Test of Self-worth – Part B transcript
In part 1 of the stren on the reasonable best test of self-worth you were urged to endorse yourself each time you made your reasonable best effort in any endeavor. Because you always have control over your input and rarely control the many factors that determine the outcome, you can consistently fulfill your needs for emotional satisfaction. Now let’s consider how to maintain our positive energy when you recognize you aren’t doing your reasonable best. The question invariably pops up:
Suppose I’m not doing my reasonable best? Don’t I deserve to feel bad about myself?
Certainly not. You’ll always be less than perfect at doing your reasonable best. Improvement requires practice and patience; setbacks are to be expected along the way. Each time you recognize you aren’t doing your reasonable best, you create an opportunity to improve in your endeavors until you reach the level of your reasonable best. Your appropriate response is to say,
“I didn’t do my reasonable best, but I’m recognizing the fact that I could be doing better. Only by recognizing an imperfection can I take the positive step of calling forth more effort and teaching my self to do better. I deserve to feel good about my self for facing my shortcoming.” (Most people beat on themselves when they discover they aren’t the way they “should” be. Such self-putdowns lead to avoiding facing faults.)
Becoming aware of shortcomings, imperfections, or mistakes is your reasonable best! It is one of the most productive things you can do because it affords you the opportunity to discover a better way. The reasonable best measure of self-worth prepares you to apply problem-solving and learn from each of your mistakes.
Teach yourself that earning the approval and love from others is one of our most worthwhile endeavors, but as a bonus, not as a dependency requirement to sustain our own self-worth. We have all that it takes to fulfill our own requirement of love and have plenty that spills over to add to the world. As you consistently endorse yourself to fulfill your requirements for love and approval, you will genuinely offer love to others without the “giving to get” that is a common source of disappointment.
There is no benefit to putting our self down because we are less than perfect, less than we would desire to be. This is a negative response that uses our valuable energy without correcting the situation. The most miserable people I know are often perfectionists. As it is, the mistakes we make or our occasional poor judgment will probably lead to unpleasant consequences. Why pay twice by attacking our self-worth? Once we pay for something, is it wise to keep going back to pay again and again? Would you pay for your groceries and then get back in line to pay again?
Applying the reasonable best test as a measure of self-worth may feel awkward at first, just as mastering any new skill would. Learning to walk, talk, write, or play a musical instrument all require practice. Merely understanding the reasonable best test won’t provide you with good feelings about yourself. You’ll need lots of practice to become adept at using this input measure of self-worth. Think how often and how long you have been practicing being controlled by the outcome of your actions. Every person spends years, even decades, acquiring sufficient mental strength to assume responsibility for their own self-endorsement. In my observation, most people have difficulty getting themselves unstuck from our early addiction to others’ approval. Instead of becoming our own person we continue to let our mood be dependent on the weather, which team won the game, whether the stock market went up or down, or preoccupation about what others think. We are like heroin addicts – we are love junkies constantly seeking our next fix.
Make the reasonable best test stren a habit by asking yourselffrequently during the day, “Am I doing what I reasonably can?” If the answer is “yes,” immediate, enthusiastic self-endorsement is in order. [see the strens on self-endorsement, especially Stren #2 on “Emotional Self-endorsement”] If the answer is “no,” congratulate yourself for finding an opportunity to improve in your efforts. Ask yourself,“What can I do to act more wisely now or in the future?” Turn the answer to the question, “Am I doing my reasonable best?” into a self-endorsing, problem-solving response. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no,” you will have created a win-win situation for growth and self-worth.
As you gain proficiency in this stren, you’ll gradually free yourself from depending on others or on outside circumstances to maintain your self-worth. You’ll consistently feel good about yourself because you can learn to do your reasonable best virtually 100% of the time.