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Is Being Best, Best?

More is better. Perfection is the only acceptable goal. Bigger is best. Enough is never enough. When did true nobility become about beating everyone else instead of being better than you used to be?

The constant comparisons, unrealistic desire for perfection and unattainable pressure to have the perfect body and succeed at everything is causing sensory overload for our children and for us as adults. Kids today seldom have a spare minute between after school activities and home- work. As therapists, we know the next wave of child abuse is indulgence. Kids are no longer encouraged to explore their inner world in order to establish strong character traits and core values. Instead they are taught to conquer the outer world and be at the top of the heap.

As adults, we seldom have time for anything beyond work, stock portfolios and organizational activities. Between the networking and the Internet, there is almost no time for imagination, creativity and exploration into the unknown. Most of us have no idea what it feels like to simply listen to our own inner guidance, and neither do we identify it as the most important source of information – even though it is. So what’s the big deal? Isn’t all this good competition and external motivation exactly what we need to be the best we can be? NO!

Having great values is wonderful, however, how we integrate those and the practices we set up to incorporate these values into our lives can be adding stress and can also set us up for failure. For instance, Nelson and Prilleltsky, a couple of psychologists in New York point out that having a value for personal well-being is great unless your belief leads to self blame and shame when you are not meeting goals established by society. If personal well-being is motivated by an internal locus or center of control, it leads to self-empowerment, greater control on our choices, enhanced self-esteem and a more positive identity. In other words, competing with you is the most growth-oriented path to excellence.

I have a plaque on my wall that reads,” Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather, by the moments that take our breath away.” The quality of life you experience is the most important thing. It’s the only thing you can take with you when you leave this planet. These precious experiences, moments of deep connection and conscious quantum leaps become the fabric and fiber of your soul. What good are all those external goodies if you can’t feel joy and happiness? So if being best and having the most doesn’t get it, what does?

Most will tell you, positive, supportive relationships, a sense of purpose, participation in social community and the welfare of the planet and a sense of safety and acceptance with ourselves is critical to happiness. No matter how sophisticated you are, the bottom line is that love is the only big deal.

When you have a sense of self-love and acceptance, you are able to move out of coercive, manipulative and controlling behavior and into compassion. The goal becomes one of mutual-empowerment and the need for force of any kind dissipates.

When you have a sense of community and love for the rest of humanity, forgiveness and compassion follow and an understanding is created that removes the sense of separation and division. When the frenzy, chaos and drama are removed the body’s immune system can function properly again and health improves.

We are sitting on the edge of a consciousness evolution. Most of you are feeling it. That voice that keeps asking is this all there is, keeps getting louder. The sense of never being filled up still growls in the pit of our stomach and the insufferable sense of separation and isolation even in the midst of relationships is becoming nearly intolerable. It’s time to ask what really matters?

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2008

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