A popular picture “pinned” by others on my Pinterest account reads,
Note to self, I am doing the best that I can with what I have in this moment. And that is all I can expect from anyone, including me.
After getting over my initial annoyance that I was getting the same notification day after day, it became clear that message on this picture was something people needed to hear.
You are perfect the way you are, given where you are.
My first dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills teacher said that a core belief of DBT is that a person is perfect the way they are in that moment given their experiences and knowledge. “Perfect” in this sense doesn’t mean what we usually associate the word with. Instead, if we look at someone’s experiences and knowledge we will see that they are behaving perfectly given what they have. For example, when I was a teen and a boyfriend left me, I would lock myself in my room, cry and blast “I Hate Everything About You” by Three Days Grace. Given the pain of a break up and my lack of coping skills, I was behaving exactly as I should in that moment. I was being my perfect self.
You can still improve.
Everything written above is not to say that you and others should give on you ever improving yourself. This is about meeting you where you are at in your life. I have found improving myself to be very difficult when I or others placed demands on me that I am not ready for. When expectations take into account your current abilities you are better able to achieve them. Seeing that you can meet expectations and achieve goals is a huge motivator to keep going.
Show yourself compassion.
Another message I believe this picture tells us is that we need to show ourselves compassion. We can become wrapped up in who we are “supposed” to be that we forget to love who we are. We should be proud of our progress, no matter how small. If we are still working on something, compassionately encourage ourselves to keep going. We need to be realistic with ourselves and with others.
It is my wish that you remember the quote on this picture. When times are tough I encourage you to say it to yourself. Remember, you are perfect how you are in this moment and you can improve yourself.
About Kristen Bellows
Kristen lives in Southern Ontario with her partner and their new baby boy! She identifies as Mad and believes that her emotional differences are a part of who she is. Kristen is a registered social work, working as a dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills group facilitator. She is also training to become a birth and postpartum doula. Since giving birth, Kristen has become interested in exploring how mental health issues intersect with motherhood. Kristen identifies as Mad and believes that her emotional differences are a part of who she is. She loves cats, reading, singing, pickles and learning. You can read more of Kristen's blog posts on her personal blog www.prideinmadness.wordpress.com