Are you among the unfortunate who had to listen to this line growing up? Were you among the fortunate ones whom this rose a red flag with even then? If so: Welcome to the club! Make yourself comfortable (now you can!), kick back, have a drink or better: a cup of tea and indulge me on this, if so inclined.
“For your own best” – let this sink in for a minute. Whoever said this to you presupposes two things with this short phrase: That they know what’s best for you and that it is what you want the most. What if you don’t? On either count or worse: On both? Or what if you reserved the right to find out on your own what’s best for you?
Either way – it’s a classic example of – unhealthy, I might add – projection. Whoever said this – have they taken the time to learn your adulations? Do they chime in on them? Do they give you the freedom to pursue those on your own?
It took me only 50 years to find out that “for your own best” is one of many epitomes of abuse I endured growing up. Many times as for this “your best” I’d have settled for a silent hug. A moment of quiet compassion, a brief, almost random touch. Maybe none of these. Maybe just an understanding look. Maybe not even that. Maybe just the freedom to find out on my own what my particular “best” would have been at any given time. It might be a vanilla ice cream cone today and this 10-year-old’s smile the next day. It might have been scoring straight A’s this particular year in High School and all F’s the next – and still coming home to a home brimming with love. Or at the very least: Acceptance. It might have been hanging with my buddies today and wandering off to find solitude the next. “Your best”? How do you have any idea?
Where there’s no room for you to explore, there’s no love, only narcisissm. Sorry to say. (You have been warned).