“Trying Your Best.” Guest Lesson by Julie Hirschhorn

If you know me, then you know I adored Maya Angelou and her quotes. My favorite quote of hers (and subsequently my favorite quote in the world) is: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” My mom says it to me all the time when things feel out of my control.

A crucial lesson that I hope we all learn at some point, is for us to know when doing your best isn’t necessarily feasible. Something that I still have trouble with, is knowing that I can’t please everyone. Even if I try my best, I’m not guaranteed to meet my goal or make others happy. However, I CAN focus on doing what’s best for me and helping others within reason.

For someone like me, that’s a real challenge. I don’t always know where to draw the line between my best and what is reasonable given the circumstances. I feel really horrible when I feel I didn’t do something with 100% effort, or if I know someone is unsatisfied. I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and realize that in some circumstances, we can’t always do our best, nor should we have to. We need to be reasonable with ourselves in knowing our limits and what we can and cannot handle.

A lot of my friends were very stressed out this week because of final exams and the tediousness that comes with ending a semester. I wish I was eloquent enough to convey this in spoken words to them. So, friends, if you’re stressed out and reading this: it’s okay to get a question wrong on a really hard test, or slip on your ass on the way to your car (oops that was me), because you’re all rockstars in my eyes and I love you whether you are trying your best or merely being reasonable :).

So, bottom line:

Take deep breaths.
Do your best, but within reason.
And to end with another Maya Angelou tidbit of wisdom: “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

-Lesson by Julie Hirschhorn

Julie Hirschhorn is a senior at James Madison University, and also writes for her own blog, The Collegiate Kitchen. Check it out here.

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