Be Your Best Self
Written by: Rebekah Ballagh
Allen & Unwin
Reviewed by: Jo Lucre
With a unique style that is somewhat quaint but spot on, and illustrations that are twee and childlike, yet charmingly endearing, Be Your Best Self covers 10 life-changing ideas to reach your full potential. Be Your Best Self – not your sticky self, your worrying self, or your mind-reading self, but your best self, author Rebekah Ballagh says.
If you’re wondering about the sticky self, I’m referring to sticky thinking. In Be Your Best Self, Ballagh describes the times our minds are most vulnerable to negative thinking. Think hormones, lack of sleep, or a body that’s coffee or alcohol addled.
The author gives limiting behaviours and habits an almost human-like quality of their own – like mind reading, which feels like the anti-hero of constructive thinking. Mind reading is where you decide what others are thinking and it’s the type of quasi-skill that gets us into all sorts of trouble. Ballagh says whenever you find yourself mind reading, “call it out” for what it is. “Oh, I’m mind reading here!” A way to test the validity of unhelpful thoughts instead is to perhaps ask someone if they are irritated by you, instead of deciding they are.
Ballagh talks about creating a life map to pinpoint the origins of our limiting core beliefs, and how negative thoughts about ourselves and our pasts can perpetuate a cycle of such beliefs. Drilling down to the very heart of a core belief can be confronting. Again, she says, call out the belief at play. Question its authority and veracity. “It is not true and it no longer serves me”.
Setting boundaries is actually a form of self-care, Ballagh says. A favourite from the chapter Protect Your Energy: a yes is also a no. Remember, when you say yes to someone else, you are likely saying no to yourself.
Each chapter concludes with a little summary, a succinct reinforcement of the ideas within, with extra little nuggets and reminders to help you Be Your Best Self.