- Thoughts for inspired living

August 18, 2008

Doing Your Best

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

Many years ago I heard Dr. Robert Anthony say, “You always do the best you can do.” He repeated it and many people in the room questioned his statement. He then added the omitted phrase – “in accordance with your present level of awareness.”

Years later I heard Harvey Diamond, co-author of the famous book, “Fit For Life” tell one of my radio listeners, “Don’t make it a religion, just do the best you can do.”

Your awareness dictates your best.

I’ll readily concede that if you’re in court, and asked why you shot someone, you may want to have a different answer than “It was the best I could do at the time.”

The “Baptism by Reality” is this: You can only do what you did.

The justifications won’t un-ring the bell. Berating yourself won’t change what happened. Denial won’t make the actions of the past disappear, nor will lying about them or ignoring them. Reminds me of a story . . .

My son, Michael when he was a teen had done something he was beating himself up about. It was getting to the point of drama when I asked him to come into the kitchen. I took a plastic cup filled with water and set it on the edge of the sink. I then requested that he tip the cup so that the water would spill into the sink. The second the water hit the sink’s surface, I told him in a frantic voice to get all the water back in the cup. He looked at me like I was crazy as the water had already gone down the drain. He then smiled and shook his head.

Have you ever had the thought that things may have turned out differently if you had done something different at the time? That is the foundation upon which guilt is built. You are judging a past action by a present level of awareness and allowing the self-destructive emotion of guilt to creep under the door. Guilt is pointless unless you use it to become more aware so that you don’t replicate similar behavior in the future. Then toss the guilt away.

Regrets are also a big waste of energy with no benefits attached. Note: Please don’t use this point of view as an excuse to keep an apology in your pocket. Apologies are cathartic and work for the giver and the receiver as well.

The main reason apologies are not given is because people have held on to and suppressed their guilt. The fear is that apologizing will allow it to resurface and consume them. The opposite is true. Apologies let all the air out of that beach ball that you’ve been attempting to hold under water.

Noticing that you did the best that you could do in accordance with your present level of awareness, bypasses long bouts of regret and guilt. This noticing gets you focused on how to attune your awareness so that you can behave more appropriately when faced with similar circumstances again.

If you’re in the midst of maiming yourself with a mental flogging, you may want to become aware of the notion, YOU ALWAYS DO THE BEST YOU CAN DO.

All the best,


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