Before you answer that, let’s get clear about success. How do you define success? Is it fame, money, accomplishment, tons of friends, total freedom, and the abundance of “things”? Maybe success is just a word made to stroke our egos and build our self esteem. For many people, defining success is difficult when it triggers memories of failure, worthlessness and despair. It seems that being aware of just the idea of success, plants goals within us. These goals turn into dreams and expectations. And living up to all of that can wreak havoc on our sense of self worth. So how can it be that one word, can motivate and design our lives, but on our worst days, challenge how we value ourselves?
I’ve found that success is like blindly placing a coin in the palm of your closed hand. While on one side there’s the face of success, just on the other side is failure. You can hold both sides in one hand, tightly (hope you don’t have sweaty palms) with your expectations and your hopes and never quite know what will face you when you open your palm.
Success and failure seem so closely tied and maybe that’s the reason why we can’t help to think of one, without thinking of the other. The edge between can seem razor thin and walking on it can feel treacherous.
If you really want to throw your mind for a loop when defining success, just throw in the notion that sometimes failure is success and vice versa. Cue the Twilight Zone music please! :/
Life doesn’t need to be about success or failure. You may know this, but do you live by this knowing?
Your focus on success and failure need not be what determines the state of your life or your mind.
Well, tell that to your ego because its focus is on yearning for self worth. And understanding the part your ego plays, is the key to answering the question, “Does success or failure define your self worth?”. Because to the ego, self worth, success and failure tend to be one in the same.
Let’s say that you’re having a good day and are feeling content with who you are and your life. Because the day is going well and you feel fine, you can accept and enjoy the present moment. It doesn’t occur to you to reevaluate yourself or your life. But the moment you face failure or something feels unsettling about who you are, your mind throws into question your value. It struggles to balance the positive with the negative things you feel about yourself. And because our minds constantly search for ways to restore balance, our egos step in to respond.
It happily shows us our potential; what we could be and what we could feel. Our egos want us to be our best. But because those things may not exist in the moment, doubts lay hidden behind the desire for self worth. Much like two sides of the same coin, yet again, just on the other side of the ego’s hopes are your self doubts.
I wonder what would happen in your life if you started to see that success and failure is neither good nor bad; it’s all life. Couldn’t that be a more freeing definition of success?
Personally, I’ve learned that everyone I’ve dated has gone on to live exciting seemingly successful lives by society’s standards. Woah that was a lot of S’. Oh but it gets better. Some are actors, globe trotting journalists, happily married, and living their dreams. Someone shoot me right?! Well, does that make me a failure? Does it mean something about my self worth??? If all my friends are happily married with great houses, families and amazing jobs, does that mean that they are successful or that they’re worth is greater than mine? The quicker you answer that with a big “Yes!”, the faster I’ll sense it and start shaking my head over here. 😛
Those friends and those exes are simply living the lives they are meant to lead. They will define their own self worth and hopefully it will not be entirely based on things as impermanent as success and failure. I can never fully know those peoples paths or what their achievements mean to them.
The point my dear reader, is that it’s just life. Success and failure are just two parts of one life. Just like waves, success will rush in only to recede, then return. Because it all comes from the big ocean that is life. Welcoming the ocean, is how you can choose to simply accept that success, failure and life are all the same.
I can only hope that you realize that living will bring many successes and failures, and none of this will mean anything about your self worth. While the ego may think that success and self worth are one in the same, you can also think that who you are is more than what you accomplish.
Ask your highest self, your inner wisdom, your spirit, how do I value myself more than my accomplishments from now on? Truly ask, and listen for an uplifting answer.
*If you feel that you need more direct help with keeping your self worth in balance, contact me- Here.*