Success is a funny thing - we all have such different lives, circumstances, talents, weaknesses, demographics, etc., yet we all tend to associate success with the same meaning or "achievement:" making or having a lot of money - typically by having climbed the corporate ladder and/or obtaining a well-paying, prestigious job. While these things are great, they are not the end all be all towards "being successful." A person is not defined by one accomplishment or trait, and success does not have to be either.
Google defines success as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose." This vague definition proves our freedom to define success on our own terms. Success does not always have to be something that you finally achieve after years and years of hard work. Maybe you always walk on the treadmill, but today you ran. Maybe you've always allowed your co worker to talk down to you, but today you stood up for yourself. Maybe you walked out of a toxic relationship, got to work early, put yourself in a social situation that scared you, built a happy and loving family, watched your daughter graduate college - you get the idea.
This is not to disregard or undermine successes like landing a promotion or reaching financial comfort or beyond. This is to inform you that these are not the only ways to succeed - your other successes are just as important and worthy of celebration. It is a lot of pressure to go through life thinking that there is just one way to succeed. As mentioned earlier, we are all different, and our differences make for different lives - different paths, different values, different motives and different ways of doing things. We cannot possibly all do and have the same things. Life just does not work like that.
Try not to compare yourself to others. The grass is rarely ever greener, and you can never see the full picture. While one person seems to have "made it" or "have it all," keep in mind that you cannot see anything else that is going on for this person. This person who has all of the money in the world may be looking at you and envying your close bond with your children. This person who is a CEO of a huge company may be looking at you and wishing that they had the time for family dinners or nights out with friends.
There is no size requirement or universal definition when it comes to achieving success. Define success for yourself. Celebrate each and every obstacle that you overcome and everything that makes you smile. Look to others for inspiration, not comparison. Enjoy what you have and work for what you want. Try not let what you have not achieved take away from what you have.
If you are having difficulty reframing your idea of success we are always here to help!
Call us at Modern Family Counseling at 732-742-0329 for more information about our services or to schedule an appointment with our therapists!