This is a question that has been bothering me for a while. That much it was nagging me in my sleep.
After starting my own business and writing this blog for over 6 weeks it’s come to my attention that I keep asking myself when is it deemed *right* to say I am successful?
Is it how much money I have in the bank? How many likes and follows I have on Facebook and Instagram? How many people read my posts? How my family and friends are doing? How my mental health is? The problem I see with success is that it is completely up to you where in your life you place it. I think in loads of ways we are ingrained to see success as a large corporate job that barely leaves us any time to do anything else which makes us happy; is that really what we call being successful?
All my life I’ve been working for my future and what will keep me busy and provide me with the means to do stuff which makes me happy. But surely I can stop right now and be proud of what I’ve achieved. Recognise that I have done a lot, maybe not as much as others, but that doesn’t mean its not noteworthy. I don’t have to reach the age of 50 and only then deem myself as successful.
Even if my social media accounts don’t have over 1,000 followers and I am not rolling in cash, that doesn’t determine my worth or show me that what I am doing isn’t right or working. It is a slow process but one a competitive, perfectionist finds hard to digest. I think that when so much of what we do is on social media; a business promoting their products or viral video or simply celebrating a success via sharing it on a platform, it all makes us feel self conscious about our own rate of success.
A thing I majorly struggle with is self comparison and imposter syndrome, purely because I am constantly seeing people doing great things and comparing myself to them. This way I decrease my own self-worth and what I have done.
If I were to hone in on that point it would be to suggest that more people need to integrate all parts of their life onto social media so people can stop detaching themselves from their own passions. But this is something which has been suggested for SO LONG and I am still to see a viable difference. Might I add that you can also tell yourself however many times you want that you ‘just shouldn’t think this way’ and it does little to change that mindset, I promise (I have tried).
Content Creator Claudia Sulewski recently said that there is no point in comparing yourself to others when their success and how they look does nothing to change your life or impact you. So why then are we made to feel so horrible when it comes to measuring our own successes to those we see on a screen. Even though I perfectly understand that this is a mental attitude that is completely down to the person feeling it rather than hatred towards someone else, it’s still hard to grapple with. And on that point, when is it ‘okay’ to sit yourself down and say ‘I am successful’ because I have done x,y,z? I think it is important to remember that you won’t achieve anything without those small steps.
It is a horrible cycle and one that typically decreases other major things that may contribute to you being considered successful, like your mental health. If you have any tips when it comes to this I’d be very interested to hear anything you have to say down below.
If anything it sounds like I should just strip the word ‘successful’ out of my vocabulary altogether. I have done major things in my life so far; I was part of a long squad for the Scottish Netball team, I designed a logo for the local book festival, I did well in school, made change in my community, I am a Captain of my uni’s Netball team, launched a website and a print space, but after all that I am still not content with absolutely anything I have achieved. Most importantly, and quite sadly, I can’t look at the majority of them with fond memories purely because I didn’t appreciate what was happening. Surely each of those can be considered a success? But do I? No.
I don’t know if this is a mentality ingrained from school, where you are always looking for the next thing. Looking for a future rather than the present. It is not healthy and not right. In fact I’d consider it dangerous because if at no point you consider anything successful what is the point in doing it in the first place? You’ll be a cog in a machine rather than a human being doing great things.
Now this isn’t a sob story, I promise there is an overarching point to this post. With all the things I have done I’ve never sat down afterwards and gone ‘I’m proud of myself’ or ‘that took a lot of work, well done!’ or ‘that actually went well and it’s because I put a lot of effort into that’. Instead I looked onto the next thing and ignored what I just burnt myself out for.
It’s something I think a lot of people can learn from and do better at. Sit yourself down and celebrate even the smallest of things because at the end of the day you can’t get where you want to be without those small successes. Don’t instantly look forward and try to do the next best thing, instead ride your own wave (as cheesy as that sounds) and try, as best as you can, to remember that you are your own person. Celebrating everyone else is extremely important but there is nothing wrong with appreciating what you yourself have also achieved.
I know that is probably a lot to digest but I hope all the same that it resonated with you and reminded you to check in on yourself and be proud of what you have done.
But this is a step in the right direction and if we all start treating ourselves with a bit more respect, I think we would all be doing a lot better.
I would love for every person reading this to share something successful in their life, with me, or the closest person to you and if you can’t do either of those yet just tell yourself. Even if you tell yourself there is nothing to celebrate, I promise there is something. At the end of the day success is relative, you decide.