Tapping Into Your Best Self

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

—Dr. Seuss

By C.J. Golden

The Chinese philosophy of Tao teaches us the principle of Te, or the virtue of being the best we can be: celebrating our uniqueness without comparing ourselves to, or imitating, others.

That’s a difficult assignment in our culture, where the media bombards us with photos of women who are younger, thinner, more athletic, more beautiful, wealthier, healthier, and, apparently, happier than we are. How can we possibly compete?

We can’t. And that’s just the point. We don’t have to, and we shouldn’t even try. I’m not suggesting that we can’t look at others and see them as role models—if the model fits us, that is. Recently, I was in a supermarket and noticed an energetic, tall, and slim younger woman standing in front of me. It’s entirely possible that I might have bemoaned my “fate” of being old, a bit heavier than I’d like, short (and getting shorter every day), and weary from a full day’s activities. Had I compared myself with her—taking into account only her youth and svelte figure—I would certainly have come out on the short end. Instead what I noticed most was her vibrancy. That was something lacking in me that day, and that was a trait I could easily incorporate into my essence.

While I realized in that moment that I can never be young again, nor will I ever be tall and slim, I recognized my good fortune in having a body that works quite well—albeit not perfectly—and has given me years and years of fine living. In giving myself credit for what I do have, and then recognizing the kick of vibrancy that I was lacking that day, I honored my uniqueness and felt oh, so good about myself.

Think about your strengths. Acknowledge and celebrate all within you that is good, strong, and wise. It is quite amazing that this is a chore for many of us; we’ve been trained to maximize our weaknesses while minimizing our assets. It’s skewed thinking like this that keeps us from believing in ourselves and all of our possibilities.

Believing in ourselves requires a positive mindset, a willingness to stop comparing ourselves with others, and the ability to acknowledge our skills and be tolerant of our weaknesses.

Each of us is unique, possessing our own special talents and abilities. Once we recognize that we can tap into our best selves and be all we are meant to be, that’s when we will truly live the principle of Te.