It’s been said: Everybody is doing the best they can, which is terrifying. Yesterday you were on top of the world. Today you don’t want to lift a precious finger. If you won an award for laziness, you would have someone else pick it up for you. I get it. Can’t reach it; don’t need it. It fell under the bed? Well then it’s gone forever. Hey, don’t be mad at lazy people; they didn’t do anything. But seriously, are you truly doing the “best you can” and what precisely is the very “best you can do”? Do you even know?

What’s in your backpack at the moment? Shame, self-reproof, and sackcloth-and-ashes? Suppose you traded it all in for acceptance, self-assurance, and faith in yourself. How can you possibly be the best you can be if you are a live wire, or if every little thing frays your nerves? Sure, you can judge yourself for not meeting those lofty standards you set. It is time to feel compassion instead. After all, the struggle is real.

You may find yourself in the exact same situation. However, one day you had seven hours of deep sleep the night before, and a mighty healthy breakfast. The next day you are groggy, sleepy, and in a stupor. How to sleep better? Decorate your bedroom to look like a classroom. Sleep is like a time machine to breakfast anyway. What do you mean three cups of coffee and a can of Pringles isn’t a good breakfast? Sheesh.

Do you believe that others are doing their best? If you don’t believe they are trying to do their finest, then how can you help them if they fail? How many times have you heard about a student who excelled way beyond expectations simply because the teacher believed in him?

Let’s keep in one hundred, my friends. You focus with laser precision on his mistakes. Somehow you fail to capture her successes. When you are judging others, you are certainly not at your most masterful. You may even be at your worst. Would you not prefer to see life and people through a more positive lens?

When others hurt us, it is extraordinarily difficult to be compassionate toward them. Yet, we rarely have the full picture. Simply assuming that he is making his best effort will help you see the good in him (and if you’re lucky, in yourself, too). Instead of getting stuck in painful feelings, reconsider. If you’ve been hurt, and she shows remorse, try to forgive her thoughtlessness or offer him the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, it will soften your heart.

Assume they are going the limit. Can you find it in your heart to see positive intent when she disappoints you? Remind yourself: Meanness is a sign of weakness. Everybody has some trash and treasure. It’s up to you to choose what to pay attention to.

Liberate yourself from the grip of criticism by seeking to understand. What is his perspective? What are her feelings about this? Just because you are curious does not mean you agree with him. But it does allow you into his world. What better way to connect with her than to try to see where she is coming from.

So you got ransacked by your emotions today. Sometimes the best you can do is to crawl up into a ball and cry like a baby on your bed. That’s okay. When you share your shame with a trusted person, it diminishes. Shame hates the light. Tomorrow you may have the strength to make some positive changes. Don’t like who you are now? Embrace the person you are becoming.

We have all made harmful decisions, sometimes even when we “knew better.” And we have all taken some toxic actions directed at ourselves or even at those we love. The truth is that if we deeply, truly “knew better,” perhaps we would all “do better.” We may have acted out of hurt or anger; and though we had knowledge, we simply could not truly own it. Pay attention to what is beneath the behavior. Compassion and empathy take work – hard work. Look at yourself and heal what needs healing, sweet friends. Recognizing the problems in your life is not the same as correcting them.

We are all trying, after all. Don’t you also try to complete a task before the microwave hits 00.00? We all know that school and microwave minutes are longer than regular minutes. Of course the plate is too hot but the food is still cold. You say you are trying? Oh yeah, try sharing your phone charger with her for one day. Heh.

What about those who blame, shame, complain and just bring chaos wherever they go? Do not get pulled into the drama. Cultivate indifference. Some people do not deserve your emotions. By all means gain clarity on the values and beliefs that drive your life. Your words matter. Your deeds matter. Who you are in this world matters – a lot.

You are not your thoughts, my friends. You are defined by your actions. Walk toward things that support you on this journey of life .And remember that others may simply be at a different emotional part of their journey. Perhaps they need to catch up. Bring a sense of gentleness to yourself and others. Your fingerprints will not fade from the lives you touch.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at