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          Today I offer you one the most effective and consistent strens to help you become your own lifelong best friend and free yourself from dependency on dictators.  Apply what I call the reasonable best test: in any situation simply recognize when you’re doing your reasonable best and endorse yourself for doing so.  You will create and maintain positive feelings about yourself.

What is the reasonable best test?

Most people evaluate their self-worth by the “outcome” of what they do.  The reasonable best test is an “input” measure of self-worth.  It emphasizes your efforts, not the results of your efforts. 

          In every situation in which you’re trying to achieve a goal, you only have control of your input.  The outcome is usually influenced by many factors that you can do little or nothing about. Unless you’re a magician, it’s unrealistic to expect that you can control the outcome of what you or others do.  Yet most people have been taught since childhood to regulate their feelings about themselves by asking themselves the inappropriate outcome question, “Did it work out O.K.?”  As a child, you didn’t have the mental resources to apply the reasonable best test.  You had no choice but to be dependent on others for your self-worth.

          Do you still depend on the outcome of your efforts as the primary measure of your self-worth?  Consider these outcome measures that create a positive or negative emotional response:

I’m OK if:
I won
My efforts worked out
They accept me
I got an “A”
He/she loves me
My salary is increased
The audience applauds
You understand
They think I’m attractive
I own a ______
The kids do well
I didn’t make a mistake

          You’re utilizing healthy, realistic criteria to create positive feelings about yourself whenever you answer, “Yes,” to the question, “Am I doing my reasonable best?” even if you don’t attain the outcome you desire!  Yes, there may be necessary hurt and trauma because of the outcome.  We can almost never control the consequences of events, but we can control how we deal with them.  We worsen and sustain the effect of an undesired outcome by attacking our self-esteem.  We often become our own worst enemy.  The above is worthwhile reviewing a number of times; what follows will help clarify the key aspects of the reasonable best test.