Sometimes we don’t realize that we are choosing to be discontent with our lives. We are living someone else’s version of success. We are making decisions based on which ones will get people to like us more. We are trying to fit in without realizing it. We have expectations that the outer world has given us.
We assume that if we don’t have someone else’s bank account, then we must, nay, deserve, to be unhappy. We give ourselves permission to complain and dislike the state of our lives because of an expectation we carry around that we have never thought to challenge. We project peace and happiness onto people who have more material possessions than us, especially celebrities, as we tear their life choices down by claiming they don’t care, because they have money.
We assume that someone who is better looking than us, who has better clothes or style, somehow possesses more joy. We accept that, if someone has a more symmetrical face and a more forgiving metabolism, then it’s okay to be jealous, it’s within our right to project that they must be faced with an unending supply of happiness. We don’t challenge this assumption; we digest it as a fact of the world.
It’s more important than ever to define success on your own terms. The media and advertising industry has hit a fever pitch. Greed is commonplace. Money distribution is so grossly uneven that it’s difficult to even believe, despite economists giving us hard facts. We’re constantly being told what will make us happy or better looking or richer or better or more important.
The only thing we’re not encouraged to do is to figure out what the fuck our own successful, happy, beautiful life looks like. We’re barraged and overwhelmed with choices, all of which promise so much that they can’t deliver on.
We’ve heard this before: to define success for yourself. But, what does it mean? How do we do it? Well, in order to block out messages from the outside, you must learn to go inward, to get to the heart of what matters to you.
But, it’s certain that if we chase the dreams of others and their version of a successful life, then we will assuredly find ourselves like hamsters on an exercise wheel: exhausted, but going nowhere.
There is nothing less satisfying than achieving a dream or landmark goal only to realize that it wasn’t even your dream or goal in the first place. That you picked it up through the years and assumed it was yours, yet never took the time to challenge that assumption.
There’s a remarkably different tune when you earn the kind of success that is born out of your own desire. Where it would have felt empty had it been success you assumed you wanted, it feels inspiring, demanding of more greatness from you.
While chasing and dreaming and believing in all the success you are capable of creating is a wonderful pursuit, if you don’t first take the time to understand where your desires are within the complexity of the world’s desires, then you will find yourself on a continuously fruitless search.