EST: 3 Letters That Can Sabotage Simple Living

posted by Andrea | 04/18/2013

EST

EST — these 3 letters occur often in our English language — and no, I’m not talking about an abbreviated form of the words “estimate” or “established”.

The EST I’m referring to is found at the end of many, MANY adjectives.

smartEST

cleanEST

prettiEST

fastEST

greatEST

wealthiEST

longEST

biggEST

bEST

In my opinion, these “est” adjectives are over used — not to mention they are often completely subjective.

Is there really a way to prove that one piece of pie is the bEST ever?

Or that one athlete, author, musician, actress, or artist is the greatEST of all time?

Is there a way to say without a doubt, that one person is the smartEST in the whole world?

That one home is the cleanEST?

Or that one flower is the prettiEST?

No, not really.

Even if you look at Olympic records to find the fastEST runner or swimmer, there is still a chance that on any given day, someone could be faster — it just might not be recorded.

Yes, I realize most of these “EST” words mean no harm, but personally, I think they have the potential to sabotage simple living. 

Since it’s nearly impossible to achieve those EST words, we quickly begin to feel like failures; we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not athletic enough… and the list could go on.

My motto has always been “progress, not perfection” and while it is tempting at times to want to be the bEST, I continually need to remind myself that striving to be better is a lot healthier than striving to be the bEST… especially since the bEST is usually unattainable. 

This is certainly not easy to do — especially with TV commercials, magazine ads, and Pinterest sharing beautiful people, perfect homes, fancy foods, and the most creative ideas — all day, every day.

From the time we are young children (maybe even from the time we’re born) we are taught that it’s more desirable to be the bEST than to be mediocre – and certainly “bEST” is better than “worst”.

Come to think of it, I don’t know many people (myself included) who would scoff at being labeled any number of those EST adjectives I listed above. After all, who doesn’t love a good compliment :)

However, if we’re really interested in trying to simplify our homes, our families, and our lives, we need to stop beating ourselves up over trying to achieve EST… and instead, focus on small baby-step “ER” improvements.

smartER

cleanER

prettiER

fastER

greatER

wealthiER

longER

biggER

bettER

And this is not to say we should never be satisfied or content with where we are at right now.

No, no – not at all.

If you’re perfectly content with any part of your life, pat yourself on the back and enjoy it — seriously!

I just know that many people (myself included) are often trying to improve something about themselves, their homes, their schedules, their lives, etc. And I’m all for improving if it helps you to simplify your life, streamline your schedule, save your sanity, or just feel a whole lot better about yourself!

Problems arise, however, when your motivation to improve becomes a quest for the bEST.

When that happens, your goals shift from “progress” to “perfection” and perfection (as we all know) is not possible.

Yes, those magazine homes look perfect, but they’re staged.

Yes, those supermodels seem to have the perfect body, but the photos are air-brushed.

Yes, those Pinterest recipes look perfect, but it took a lot of time to take and edit those pictures.

Progress is attainable. 

Perfection is not. 

So as you strive to live a simpler life, realize that those EST words won’t get you there. In fact, they might just completely sabotage all your efforts, and leave you feeling discontent, unhappy, overly stressed, and tired.

Baby steps.

Progress.

BettER… not bEST! 

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27 comments

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    05/31/2013

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