Are we all really doing our best?


I recently finished reading Brene Brown’s latest book Rising Strong. As my regular readers know I am a massive fan of every single word she writes, every interview she does and every talk she presents.

Rising Strong had so much to contemplate and consider, and I feel that I’m still digesting and integrating some of it, and I plan to write more as I process the content.

One of the theories she posits that has challenged me and others I know is that everyone is simply doing the best they can in any given moment. She wrestled with this concept for a long time before eventually coming to accept it as truth.

I’ve been thinking on this for a while now and I myself many times have used the line that ‘he/she/they are doing the best they can with what they have, at the time’. But do I believe it?

I think it’s easy to say this when what is being done doesn’t affect you deeply on some level, whether emotionally, personally, professionally or otherwise. It’s easy to say when it’s a small drop in the ocean, or something that you don’t really care so much about, but when you feel attacked, hurt, betrayed, upset by another, is this our default position? I’d have to say no for the most part.

I’ve been on this planet 50 years and I’ve had my share of hurts from relationships, friends, family and acquaintances, as we all have. I can now say hand on heart, I’m thankful for all of them, as they helped to build me into the person I am today. At the time though, oh I wasn’t thankful. I’ve wished some experiences wouldn’t happen, I’ve done the rehashing, the if only’s the what ifs, the regret, shame, blame game, the distress and the complete breakdown/meltdown. When I learned to take each experience as a life lesson and to be thankful for it, life became a whole lot easier. Apart from reflection, self awareness, self care and gratitude, the main healer here is time. It is with the distance of time we can look back with thanks and appreciate just how much we’ve been through and not only survived, but thrived and grown.


So, back to the question, do I think we are all doing our best? Yes I think we are. We’re all equipped with different levels of capacity for so many things. That’s what makes the world such a wonderful and interesting place after all. Some have great capacity for compassion, love, humanity, relationships and others don’t. Some people are givers, some takers. Some are incredibly hurt, wounded and damaged and the only way they can thrash their way out in their mind is to attack and wound back, even if you didn’t hurt them in the first place. Some are angry, and with good reason. If we can see people for what they really are, deep inside, we are all of the same stuff. At the time some may act out of anger, desperation and hurt, but is it their fault they don’t have the tools to act differently? I can recall many times in my previous marriage where I acted in ways I was not proud of, due to the experiences I was being dealt at the time. On reflection I can now see that I was doing the best I could, with the tools I had and the circumstances I was in, at the time.


So, as much as can be painful to accept this idea, when we are at the receiving end of other peoples stuff, for reasons we may never understand, I like to think everyone is really doing their best. If we were all to consider this, I believe that we could have a great impact on others around us and the world in general.

What do you think? Do you think we are all doing our best?

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