Take a journey with me back to an earlier time in your life. Take a memory stroll back with me to when you were the best person you’ve ever been. Maybe this was a short season in your life; perhaps long. Maybe it was weeks ago; perhaps years.

Were you perfect in that time of your life? Of course not. But, perhaps you were more focused, more intent on being the best person you could be. Perhaps you had a strong faith and were intent on living a vibrant, faith-filled life. Perhaps you had not let life’s challenges get you down or distracted.

This point in time may have been for a few years, a few months, a few days or even a few minutes. The amount of time doesn’t matter—can you bring to mind a time when you were your ‘best self’?

Most who come to work with me at The Marriage Recovery Center have allowed habits and hurtful traits to crowd out their ‘best self.’ They have become inferior versions of themselves, filled with hurt and hence able to hurt others. They have allowed emotional wounds to bring out the worst in themselves rather than the best.

Many who come to work with me have allowed anger to become too familiar. Again, filled with hurt they are ready to hurt others. Many have become insensitive to their mate. They’ve become distrusting or distrustful. Deception has slipped into their lives, leaving scars and hurts.

Thankfully, you can recover your ‘best self.’

As you consider this ‘best self’ that you have been at one or more times in your life, consider the essential traits you want to highlight. It is only as we have a clear vision of who we want to be that we can strive to be that person. Thankfully, even if you’ve become distracted, you can recover your ‘best self.’ How is this done?

I have found it useful to consider a Scripture to assist me in reaching for this ‘best self.’ For example, the Apostle Paul tells us the fruits of Spirit, or the Spirit-filled life, is manifested by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

Imagine yourself marked by these qualities, or perhaps embodying some other trait that you believe marks your ‘best self.’ Another favorite Scripture of mine, also written by the Apostle Paul, says: “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouths” (Ephesians 4:29). What if your ‘best self’ was marked by wholesome words? You will need to decide the person you want to be and then determine to be that person.

Here are a few additional ideas for recovering your ‘best self’:

First, determine who you wish to be, your ‘best self.’ We can never arrive at a destination unless we know exactly where we are going. Consider your history. What are the qualities you have appreciated about yourself? What are the traits that others have noticed and valued? What are the traits you have admired in others? Write them down and develop a crystal clear picture of that person.

Second, determine the barriers to achieving your ‘best self.’ It is critical that you know the barriers that are likely to interrupt your progress. Are you too busy to fully accomplish these goals? Are you easily distracted or give up too quickly? Perhaps you’ve failed to clearly identify your goals and ‘best self’ and need help to articulate what it is you want to accomplish. Know and appreciate these barriers and ways you will overcome them, keeping goals very focused and achievable.  

Third, determine a clear path to recover that ‘best self.’ Develop a roadmap for recovering that person. Knowing the barriers to you being that person will help you develop a plan of recovery. Are addictions crowding out that person? Have you developed some troublesome habits that need attention? Consider a plan for becoming that person again. Consider joining a support group such as Celebrate Recovery or personal counseling to cultivate those lost traits.

Fourth, determine to have an accountability partner who will encourage your ‘best self.’  It is much more difficult to grow in isolation. We are often helped by having someone who knows what we’re trying to accomplish and encourages that growth. They will spur us on when the going gets tough and celebrate our small and large victories. They will pick us when we fall, cheering us on.

Finally, determine to allow the Spirit of God to lead us to our ‘best self.’ Scripture tells us “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) We rarely are able to change ourselves under our own steam. We need the indwelling power of God to enable true change. Ask God what lost parts of yourself he wants you recover. Ask God to work a mighty change in your heart and life and he will be faithful to do it.

We are here to help and offer phone/ Skype counseling on issues related to this article. Please go to our website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com and discover more information about this as well as the free downloadable eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams, including other free videos and articles. Please send responses to me at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.

Publication date: May 13, 2014