Success: It's All Relative

Success. It's a funny noun. Not funny ha ha but funny in the sense that it means something different to everyone. By definition, success is "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose," which, for me, is the ideal definition. Some dictionary definitions are now extremely archaic due to economical, technological, scientific and societal developments, however, the definition of success still fits perfectly with what we know it to be today.
Because, you see, that's just what success is - its the accomplishment of something, something which you set out to achieve, had listed as a goal or purposely wanted to excel in. Its a personal thing, success. There isn't a universal ideal of what it should look like, hence why the definition is so rightly vague. Success is relative and such a personal emotion and experience that it would be impossible to only define certain accomplishments as "a success."

Human beings are very good at being hard on themselves. Its a skill we all seem to be born with, rather than one we acquire over time like the ability to sing or play football. It almost seems like a natural instinct for us to put ourselves down in many situations but, particularly, when it comes to success. When we tick one more goal off of our lists or do something pretty damn great, the joyous feeling of pride never seems to last long as, at the back of our minds, we seem to be comparing our successes with those of others. For example, when we achieve a grade B on a test, we immediately compare our result with someones A. Its almost as if we feel we're unworthy of feeling proud of our successes because there's always someone who is "more successful."

But can you really define to me "more successful?" Like I said previously, success is such a personal emotion and something you deem as a success many not seem like one to others, which is sad. Its sad how we're unable to understand that 'perfection' doesn't always equate to success. Sometimes, 'failure' can be just as successful. I'm a firm believer in the fact that 'failure' is non existent as getting something wrong doesn't mean it was a failure, its just a learning curve that'll help shape you into a better person in the future. However, some people like to label anything that isn't absolutely 100% top notch successful as a failure, causing upset in others and inducing them to put even more pressure on themselves. For example, going back to the school analogy, if your classmate scores 50% on a test which you scored 90% on them, you may be tempted to frown upon their mark and view yours as "more successful" simply because it was higher. But, you see, the thing is, anything can be a success and, just because it isn't one to you, doesn't mean it isn't the greatest success in the world to someone else. Honestly, to some, success isn't being affluent, living a lavish lifestyle, travelling in private jets and living in a mansion. To some, success isn't scoring 100% in every exam, setting world records and never putting a foot out of place. To some, success is simply having the ability to get out of bed in the morning and leave the house. To some, success is just being able to look at themselves in the mirror. To some, success is making a phone call to book a dentist appointment that they've been putting off. To some, success is getting through a trip to the supermarket without bursting into tears. All of these things are just as successful as anything else which you may view as stereotypically successful and we must not undermine them just because they aren't accomplishments we all care about. Its great to feel proud about high exam results and job promotions but we also ought to allow people to feel proud of their life accomplishments which are part of their daily routines. Success is all relative, therefore, we all set ourselves different goals and have different expectations of ourselves. No two people want exactly the same things out of life but that's what makes the world so exciting. Everyone strives for different successes and everyone deserves to feel that same sense of euphoria when they accomplish one of their aims, regardless of what they are.

So, don't put other people down for their successes. Don't view them as subservient just because they don't aim to do the things you aim to do. Instead, encourage them, cheer them on, remind them that you are proud of them and that they ought to be proud of themselves too. Life is no competition. It isn't about who has the most money, the most designer clothes, the biggest house, the cutest dog or the highest qualifications. We cannot spend each day judging our successes by other people's standards and viewing other people's aims as ridiculous just because it isn't something we'd want to achieve ourselves. We need to be standing by one another, being each others cheerleaders, pom poms and all. You don't always need to write a soppy text message or give your friends lectures on how amazing their doing, sometimes, just a pat on the pack, a small smile, a "well done" can go a long way and has the potential to remind someone that, actually, they aren't doing as badly as they think.

And, just in the way that we shouldn't look down our noses at other people's successes, we shouldn't treat ourselves so harshly either. I know its tough, in fact, it almost seems impossible. We live in a society where comparison is the norm and we're almost programmed, like robots, to judge ourselves and compare every inch of our existence with everyone elses. Its as if we were born to see one another as our competitors and treat life as one big game. But what's the prize in the end? Where does it end? Death? Because that's where we all end up - I hate to break it to you. Comparing our accomplishments with other people's is futile. It adds no value to your life and, if anything, it detracts value. It only causes misery and this constant feeling of never being good enough. The truth is though, you are good enough. We all are, in our own way. So, stop being so tough with yourself. Its okay for you to see little things as big achievements, in fact, I strongly encourage that you do that as its always nice to appreciate the little things in life. Plus, when we see completing minute tasks as big successes, it will only make any future "bigger" successes feel even more incredible. You have every right to feel happy when you do something exciting or when you simply get through the day without dying. If you want to feel proud about speaking to a stranger without having a panic attack, then do it and absolutely own it. Celebrate every tiny victory. Never allow yourself to get into that mindset of "I can't feel proud of my successes because other people are doing bigger and better things." That's a load of codswallop. Pride is such a personal emotion but also a beautiful one. It doesn't come along that often so do not deprive yourself of it. Soak it in, every last drop of it, and constantly remind yourself that every goal you achieve is a HUGE DEAL! Life is too short to be on your own case all the time. Just let yourself breathe every once in a while whilst you stop to bask in the glory of all of your successes.

Let's just let success be success and enjoy our own whilst letting others enjoy theirs. No one knows what success means to another person and it'd be wrong to assume it means exactly the same to them as it does to you. Everyone has a background, everyone has stories, personal experiences, wonderful memories, painful memories, insecurities and ambitions, all of which impact what they view as successful. Their demons may be different to yours and so, sometimes, surviving another twenty four hours can give someone the same feeling of satisfaction that graduating university may do for you. Try not to get too caught up in success and what it means because, the truth is, everything we do is a success, the fact that we are all here right now is a success in itself. We have so much to be thankful for and there is so much art surrounding us that we ought to appreciate instead of comparing ourselves with others and comparing others to ourselves.

Success. Its relative.

Love, Emily :) xx

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