How do you define success? Being fiscally wealthy? Having the perfect body? Getting an A on an exam? Having a hundred friends? Or even better, a million followers? Sounds like success, right!? I used to think so. I’d always think, “If I can just get this one job, if I can just lose 10 pounds, if I can just get that one date” etc., I’ll appear to be successful and therefore be happy. It’s ironic because this idea of “success” is far more a thief of happiness than it is a giver. The more self aware I become, the more I realize success is not dependent on any of the things I used to believe. Success, to me, is quite literally simply being happy.
As a perfectionist who struggles from quite extreme anxiety when I fail to present anything less, this has been a difficult concept for me to grasp. It’s hard to deny the euphoria experienced when first meeting someone and being able to impress them with a status. It’s human nature to want to be liked, appreciated, and impressive to other humans. However, it’s a fleeting feeling. I’m convinced there is no tangible thing that can bring true happiness; therefore success cannot be defined by a financial, physical, or relationship status (other than with God.)
I’m not denying that we need physical things in order to be happy. We need food and shelter for survival, and yes, relationships can bring a certain extent of happiness into our lives. However, they cannot bring us true happiness if we are not first content without ourselves. Happiness truly is an individual choice. Some days it’s a damn hard choice. It’s easy to let “things” we often consider “success” define our emotions. For a long time I let this control my life. I needed to be the best at everything to feel any sort of satisfaction. It’s an extremely draining and toxic way to live. No one is perfect, and I was living in a constant state of self destruction because of it. I still struggle with this from time to time to be quite honest, but I’ve made myself aware and can bring myself out of the trap. It has been a life changing revelation.
I encourage all of you to chase the dreams that you’re passionate about, that truly bring you happiness. This is success. And please stop judging others for chasing their dreams. Having a higher paying job, more followers, a lower body fat percentage does not make one person more successful than the other. Being passionate, helping others, creating happiness; that is success. Be successful.