You Can Only Give Your All

You Can Only Give Your All

Sometimes your best isn't good enough, so what do you do next?

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I'm sure all of our parents have told us, "Just do your best," at one point or another, and for a while, we believed that was good enough. Especially when we got participation awards and gold stars for doing what was expected of us anyway. But now that we're older, at least I hope you've realized by now; sometimes your best isn't good enough and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Sometimes, no amount of hard work will get you the win. So, what then? Well let's start with the before: do the thing, get through the excruciating waiting period, and then we can move through the after.

Before is the part where you actually do your best and give your all. Let's say you have a big audition (interview, performance, sporting event, speech, test, etc.) coming up and you're terrified. What should you do? Well, obviously, you should work as hard as you can (to a healthy extent)—do the homework, study, practice, prepare, do some psychological visualization, do whatever it is you know you need to do to give yourself the best chance of success.

After you've prepared yourself as much as you can, do the actual thing. Don't worry about feeling ready because a wise man once said "If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives." You've done the work. You're as prepared as you can possibly be, so just do it because there's nothing more you can do. You cannot do any better than your best. You cannot give any more than your all.

This concept tends to wrack our brains during the agonizing period when we're waiting to find out if we got the part, scored the job, won the competition, made the grade, etc. The truly beautiful thing about it is, while it is stressful to not know if your best was enough, there's nothing you can do about it. Yes, it's terrifying when a part of your life is out of your control, but that's also very calming (at least to me) because while there is nothing you can do to fix the situation. There's also nothing else you can do to mess it up because it's already done. The ball is out of your court and you're waiting to see if it will get thrown back or not; your work is done.

But the after is either the best or worst part of this whole experience. If the outcome is favorable, then your job is pretty much done—you did the hard work and your hard work paid off—go you! Just make sure you don't get cocky. However, if the outcome is unfavorable; then you have to deal with an unbearable amount of self-doubt that is certainly trying to crush you and all your dreams. But, you know what? Just because your best wasn't good enough for this, doesn't mean your best isn't good enough for something else. Just because you fail at one thing, that doesn't mean you will fail at everything. In fact, it doesn't even mean you're bad at the thing you "failed" at—maybe someone else was better or more suited. Don't let that thought get you into the trap of comparing yourself to others, but let it give you perspective about life.

If all humans walked around doing their best all the time, there's no way everyone would succeed all the time, but that doesn't mean that you don't deserve to succeed (or that you deserve to fail). Sometimes we get what we deserve, sometimes we don't. Sometimes it isn't even a matter of deserving at all, but rather a matter of luck. Whether you believe in luck, fate, God's plan, karma, or anything else, believe this: you will not always get what you want, you will not always get what you deserve, but you will always get what you get, and there's no point in throwing a fit because life isn't fair and sometimes your best isn't good enough.

I know that last sentence sounded like I'm pounding you into the dirt, but I'm not trying to sound mean. I'm just trying to give you a realistic (and slightly optimistic) view on reality. I promise I say all this out of love and personal growth that stemmed from experience. Do your best, leave it all on the court, then wait for the response. That way you never have to wonder if you could've done better, you never have to wonder if it was your fault, because you gave everything you have and that's all you can give.

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Speaking As Someone Who Has Attempted It, Suicide Is NOT A Selfish Act

It's selfish to even think that suicide could be selfish.

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Content warning: Suicide.

Recently a discussion was brought up in my Philosophy Morals and Ethics class that I can't seem to quit thinking about. The discussion was on suicide and one of the topics was whether or not the act is selfish or selfless.

A fellow student immediately spoke up and gave her argument for why she believed it was selfish. Including the idea that when one commits suicide, they are just passing on the pain to someone else who was affected by the death.

I immediately began to feel rage.

I understand her feelings were probably brought on because she was affected by someone else committing suicide and this was why she felt so strongly for her to speak on the subject. And as someone who has also been affected by someone else's suicide, I can understand her reasoning.

But speaking as someone who has been affected by my own suicidal thoughts and even attempts, I can't agree with her conclusion.

I've been thinking about this constantly for the past week and have been filled with so much discomfort that her reasoning was so small minded, it pissed me off. How could she sit there and say that it is selfish, of all things, if she hasn't experienced the excruciating pain of the constant battling with yourself over suicidal thoughts and depression?

I was so pissed that she would even be so selfish to say that suicide is selfish.

I began writing this as a "are you f***ing kidding me?!" article. But then my therapist's voice crept in and I was reminded to always consider all sides of all stories. I do not know if she has or has not dealt with her own suicidal thoughts. But if she truly had, could she really be able to just sit there and claim that it was selfish?!

Every single case of suicide and depression are entirely different. But personally, I believe that when someone attempts or commits suicide is because they deeply believe it is what is best for them, and others, and there is no other option. You believe that you are such a burden to those around you that you feel your death would better other's lives.

There is no talking to someone about it, there is no getting better, there is no other option. You are so consumed by the intense dark suffocating thoughts, that you can't see any form of light. You can't see that there is any other way out of the soul-sucking thoughts.

You see death as your only option out of it.

As I know now, that is not the case. There are ways out and you can get better. But that still doesn't make suicide selfish because the pain is passed on to someone else.

Merriam-Webster defines selfish as "seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others," and a selfish act as "arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others."

Seeking well-being for oneself without regard for others.

You can't label suicide as selfish because when you truly battle with it, you know the weight it bears down on you. It steals every last breath you find the strength to take.

You can't label suicide as selfish because, in it, you believe that you are a burden to others and the world would be better off without you in it.

You can't label suicide as selfish because you think that someone ended their own life to hurt those around them.

And it's even selfish of you to even think that you can label it as selfish.

Because if you can't stop to remove the blinding curtains from your own eyes to see how much pain they were in to think that suicide was their only option, for them to feel like they had no one and that they were no one, then that makes you selfish.

Not them.

Suicide is a very real topic and action. And I am not saying that I am an expert on the subject simply because I have stared it in the face and was even unsuccessful at meeting its need.

No, I am not an expert on suicide or depression, but as someone who has drowned in the same waters as about 1,400,000 other people, I feel the need for you to know that it isn't just as simple as black and white.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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A Reminder That Your Best Is Always Enough

Don't let the stress of the season wear you down; just keep doing your best!

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Life gets overwhelming. For me personally, adjusting to college has been a whirlwind of finding new classes and studying habits, meeting new people and balancing school with a social life, and applying for jobs, scholarships, and now, apartments. This whole "adulting" thing is hard. It's not easy to find time to do everything you have on the agenda, on top of keeping yourself healthy mentally and physically. This pressure has been getting to me lately; I have so much to do before the end of the quarter and my stress levels are rising continuously. Of course, I'm excited about spring, the end of the year, and the excitement that next year will bring. But in the meantime, we all have a lot on our plates.

Personally, I've really enjoyed this first year of college so far, but I have felt the stress and pressure of it all, especially through this past winter quarter. I've been studying French for years now. This has been my first year of taking university-level French classes, and I've really been enjoying them. At the same time, though, it's been a lot of work to push myself to the standards of my professor and feel like I'm actually reaching fluency. As I'm sure many language learners can relate, I've reached a certain point in my studies that I feel I've reached fluency in comprehension, but I still hesitate in speaking the language and I get nervous about making mistakes orally.

I know that the solution to this roadblock is practice. I listen to French songs, watch movies and videos in French, and read French news articles and Tweets. Still, I don't feel like I have the time that I need to commit to becoming fluent. In addition, this year introduced me to the zero-waste routine. Although it's been an incredibly rewarding effort, it takes a lot of time, money, and dedication. Living in a dorm with a very small kitchen has made it difficult to truly practice the zero-waste lifestyle I hope for. Although I've reduced my waste immensely in shopping practices, there are still many ways that I could cut back on waste if my budget or living space allowed for it.

I do my best to practice what I preach, but sometimes I find myself taking the more convenient, wasteful route. My campus offers lots of ways to recycle and compost, but still, I can never escape the non-recyclable plastics that I have to throw away.

In reflecting on these thoughts the past few weeks, I have realized that all I can do in facing these hardships is my best. I'm reminding myself that I am not alone in my stress and personal dilemmas. Springtime tends to be insanely busy for me. As the school year wraps up there's a lot to do. I know that these next few months will fly by, so my goal is to stay productive and busy to keep myself happy and as stress-free as possible!

So, here's to each of us trying our best. Remember that pushing through struggles often results in a stronger, more confident version of ourselves. Keep up the good work; enjoy the spring weather and let it inspire you to stay on top of what needs to be done. Take care of you, and remind yourself that your best is always good enough!

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