Saturday, July 10, 2010

Me at My Best: A Challenge

   Last week I was talking to a newer friend of mine, and we were drinking and it was late so of course we were having one of those conversations and something prompted me to say, "You've only known me at my worst, which I'm kind of sorry about," which of course set off the truth-moment alarm bell in my head.
  There are whole six-month to year-long periods I can recall in which I was acting, most of the time, as me at my worst: selfish and depressed and expecting everybody else to help me without reciprocation.  And I wondered what it would be like to be able to point to six months and say, "That was me at my best."  I guess I remember the summer between high school and college as being a time when I really felt good about my actions and about myself in general, but that was seven years ago. 
   So for the last few days, I've been trying to be only me at my best: whenever I've been feeling down, or lazy, I just ask myself, "Hil, is this the best you've got?" and of course I have to say, "No," and then this somehow forces me to look on the bright side or to do the thing I've been avoiding doing.  It's been surprisingly easy, and I'd really, really like to make it to December with this.
   I'm actually kind of hesitant to post this all here because sometimes when I talk about things all of my energy goes into talking about it and not into actually doing it--but that wouldn't be me at my best.  So I'll post it, and follow through on it.
   The really nice part about this is the time limit.  It doesn't feel so weighty or impossible, because I only have to do this for six months, and then I can go back to being a selfish b*tch if I feel like it. 
   So, for the next six months, I will:
   -be as cheerful as possible
   -do more listening than talking
   -keep my promises and commitments
   -avoid making any promises or commitments I don't think I can keep
   -do the things that need to be done, and do them well, even if I don't feel like it
   -be honest with myself about what I want and don't want
   -be honest with others about what I'm willing or not willing to do/put up with
   -give my opinion only if asked
   -make time for my friends and family, and make that time about them and not me
   -write as often and as well as I possibly can
   -pay careful attention to other people and make an effort to recognize and fulfill their wants and needs
  -pay careful attention to my surroundings
  -make no judgments until there is sufficient evidence; and always allow for exceptions and change
  -avoid any action or speech that will cause real hurt to others or to myself
  -be open to criticism and willing to change

  I thought this list would be longer but I'm pretty sure this covers everything, at least indirectly, that I have noticed and thought about in the past few days.
  I know these are things I am capable of; and the best part is I don't have to do it forever, nor perfectly.  I just have to do it the best I can.
  I'm sort of oddly looking forward to this.

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