I recently came across a list of things to be successful posted by a Facebook friend. It got me thinking about the road to success and what we define as success.
Answering from my early teen years, the response to “what is success?” would have been money. A successful person is someone with loads and loads of money. If i were to answer that same question in my late teen years it would have been to be hot and charismatic. Someone that could walk into a room with all eyes glued to them and wow the crowd. Now, years after I’ve left my teen years, my answer has strayed so far from those things that I thought mattered back when my high school peers shaped my opinions that it’s amazing I got to the point I have.
Sitting here today asking myself what success is, only one answer comes to mind: happiness. To be successful, in my opinion, is to be happy. Back in high school I truly thought that being the richest or the hottest girl would make me the happiest. I saw what others had and I wanted it. I think any high school girl can relate to wanting to be the “popular” one in high school.
But, the glorious realization came to me in my final year of high school that materialistic and surface things doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. It dawned on my when some of my “friends” told me they could no longer hangout with me because I no longer had a house with a pool and my status “fell” since I refused to get drunk at parties. What I learned that fateful afternoon was that if you put stock in surface, shallow, worldly things instead of digging deeper and looking on the inside, everything can go up in smoke. However, if you look inside yourself and stop letting others define you but instead decide for yourself what matters most by how you feel, there’s no more facade.
A 68 year old lady from my run club summed it up best when she said, “as soon as you care what others think, you’ve lost.”
I had a personal realization that it is me that define my life. I decide my worth and I decide my actions. I can choose to feel down in the dumps about not meeting this or that standard, choose to be upset because I can’t afford the latest trend, and choose to be mad because so and so doesn’t like me OR I can choose to be joyful with myself, choose to have self-confidence and self-worth, and choose to not let possessions decide my happiness.
When I decided that I was enough, I realized the potential life had to offer me. The world is now my oyster and mine for the taking, rather than the other way around. I freed myself from the dictation of others and now am the author of my own story, and I’ve never felt so capable before.