When I had the opportunity to take my nephews to school once a week this spring because my sister went back to school; I jumped at the chance to spend a little extra time with them and tried to use it as an opportunity to connect. The conversation inevitably led to talk about a teacher not liking them or struggling with a subject in some way (like AP calculus, but who wouldn’t struggle with that?). I tried to encourage the boys, let them know that they just needed to work hard and do their best. I also explained that their teachers were not out to get them, as one of my nephews had claimed. I know a lot of teachers, and they are all amazing, giving people. She was not intentionally trying to make him miserable; she did not want him to fail. She was, in perhaps a not very nurturing way, trying to get him to be the best version of himself.

Isn’t that what we are all striving for?

I have many philosophies about relationships. One in particular is generally around partnerships and states (in my head) that we have an obligation to help our partner become the best version of themselves. Let me clarify, that does not mean the best version as I define it, the best that they want to be. If my husband, for example, wants to go back to school, then it is my job to help him get there. That means everything from helping him fill out an application, to taking on a little extra at home so that he can study, to pushing him to write a paper even when it is beautiful outside. I see a lot of relationships where people are not really partners. They don’t encourage one another and in some cases even try to keep the other person from achieving success because it amplifies the fact that they are not doing what they are called to do.

This brings me back to my nephews and broadening my scope of thinking that it is only partners who encourage us to be the best version of ourselves. It is also, teachers, parents, friends, bosses, etc. But in reality, it starts with us. What am I doing to become the best version of myself? That is what all this talk of change is really about, becoming the best version of myself, whatever that is.

I have two questions:

  1. What are you doing every day to challenge yourself to be the best version of YOU?
  2. Are you surrounding yourself with people who hold you accountable in a nurturing fashion when you don’t have the strength to do so?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, why?