Secret Love-Creation Skill #2: The “Reasonable Best (RB) Test” of Self-worth
Most people evaluate their self-worth by the “outcome” of what they do. The RB test is an “input” measure. It emphasizes your efforts, not the results of your efforts.
This skill would be simple if we were not so strongly indoctrinated to not practice it. In any situation, simply recognize when you’re doing your reasonable best and apply skill #1 for doing so. You will create and maintain positive feelings about yourself no matter what you are trying to achieve. Realize you only control your input into a situation. The outcome is usually influenced by many factors that you can do little or nothing about, so it’s unrealistic to expect that you can control it. Yet most people have been taught since childhood to regulate their feelings about themselves by focusing on the outcome.
Do you still depend on the outcome of your efforts as the primary measure of your self-worth? Consider these outcome measures that sustain our dependency.
I’m OK if:
He/she loves me
My efforts worked out
They accept me
I got an “A”
My salary is increased
The audience applauds
They think I’m attractive
I own a ______
The kids do well
I didn’t make a mistake
You’re utilizing healthy, realistic criteria to create positive feelings about yourself whenever you answer, “Yes,” to the question, “Am I doing my reasonable best?” even if you don’t attain the outcome you desire!
But isn’t it natural to feel bad when things don’t work out?
Of course! It’s normal to experience hurt when things don’t work out the way you would have liked, or when you’ve been treated unfairly. But applying the RB test balances your pain or disappointment. By creating a sustained level of positive feelings about your self, you can manage your discomfort while working to resolve it.
How do I know what my reasonable best is?
Your reasonable best is the best you can do in a situation considering your resources. Your intelligence is less than perfect. You have time restrictions and commitments to many obligations. If you’re in doubt about what your reasonable best is, work with someone else to help set realistic goals.
Suppose I’m not doing my reasonable best? Don’t I deserve to feel bad?
Certainly not! 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 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 myself to do better. I deserve to feel good for facing this shortcoming.”
Most people beat on themselves when they discover they aren’t the way they “should” be. Such “shoulding” on our self leads to avoiding facing faults. Becoming aware of shortcomings, imperfections, or mistakes is your reasonable best! The RB test prepares you to apply puzzle-solving and learn from your mistakes.
Putting our self down because we are less than perfect, less than we want to be, is a negative response that wastes our valuable energy without correcting the situation. The mistakes we make or our occasional poor judgment will probably lead to unpleasant consequences. Why pay twice by attacking our self-worth? Would you pay for your groceries and then get back in line to pay again?
Make the RB test a habit by asking frequently throughout the day, “Am I doing what I reasonably can?” If the answer is “yes,” immediate, enthusiastic self-endorsement is in order. If the answer is “no,” congratulate yourself for finding an opportunity to improve your efforts. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no,” you will have created a win-win situation for growth and self-worth.