“They got the best of me!”
“Don’t let them get the best of you.”
“You’ll never get the best of me again.”
We say it like it’s a weakness, for someone to get the best of us. It’s treated like something that we shouldn’t be giving out.Something that must be earned. The very best of us. Yes, we use them a little different than, ‘give it your best’ or ‘do your best’, but I still wonder if we’re getting the wrong idea.
I’m writing a letter to my son. In it, I intend to tell him not be careful with his heart. Don’t protect it. Don’t shield it. Don’t hide it. Don’t ever think it can’t heal. Don’t worry about it being hurt again. Dive in with both feet and never look back. I feel that these phrases about not letting people get the best of him are contradictory to my message. Why shouldn’t he show everyone, give everyone his best?
In college, it was one of the things I tried to promise myself. I wouldn’t let what other people said or did to me affect my spirit. I would give and give completely unconcerned for receiving. This is not a weakness, I decided, but the bravest most rawest form of strength. How strong does one have to be to curl into a ball? Doesn’t it take more muscle to hold yourself wide open? The tip of your toes on the ground, feet spread wide, arms and fingers reaching out as hard and far as they can, your neck stretched and long. Doesn’t that require more strength than the fetal position? But we have it backwards. We call it weakness. We’re so focused on what other people can do, we don’t place importance on what we can do. We’re not concerned with how much power we have. That power of pure vulnerability is the bravest thing of all.
If I could tell my son one thing today it would this: We aren’t a finite amount of love, of energy, of lifeblood. We are an ocean. And it rains.