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tracee ellis ross by simin erbel video

“Everyone’s always like, ‘Be your best self!’ And that drives me bananas, because when you’re not, it makes you feel really bad. And so someone asked me the other day, ‘When are you your best self?’ and I said, ‘When I make space for my worst self.’ Like if you ask yourself, ‘How long will it take to do this particular thing?’ and you’re freaking out like, ‘I don’t know! It’s going to take me so long! I don’t know! Ten years?!’ Well … what if you give yourself ten years? ‘Oh. Okay.’ And then somehow, the thing you thought would take ten years only takes a week. Give yourself permission to actually let something take as long as it takes.

My standard of perfection often paralyzes me, or makes me terrified, or makes me feel ashamed. Instead, if I can make space for the idea that the goal is not to be perfect, but the goal is to be me, then I get to revel in the mixed bag of what it is to be a human. Some moments are good, some are bad. Some days are good, some days are bad. We live in a culture where people are constantly telling us how to get what we want, and within that message is, ‘You need to be something other than you are.’ So my antidote to that has been, What if the goal is not to get what I want, but to discover who I am, be who I am, and accept that? Because strangely, that takes courage!

As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment, and curiosity over fear.” — Tracee Ellis Ross as told to NY Magazine

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