Success, Happiness and Love. All are made out to be these grand, beautiful, life-changing things that one must seek and find in order to have lived a truly fulfilled life.
However, like with almost anything in life, meaning & importance are not fixed values but vary depending on your perspective which is also shaped by various factors such as your own values, life experiences, personality, beliefs, etc.
Thanks to James, I have the opportunity today to share my perspective on success with you.
Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!
Today’s blog is the 17th blog in the “What do we mean by Success?” series, which is going to be tailored around if we can base our success off of our self-care. The blog is guest blog written by the amazing Chloë Rivière, who has her own blog page as well, called The Dawn Chorus! Chloë writes some really thoughtful and insightful posts on her page, so if you are interested in taking a look at them, please do!
This is Chloë Rivière, writing about success as self-care:
I hope that reading this blog post helps you in some way if you are struggling (or not!) right now to acknowledge your progress/achievements or if you are feeling like your hard work is getting you nowhere.
The myth of success…
How many lifetimes have been spent chasing after these grandiose concepts of Success/Happiness/Love without which one’s life would be void of value or meaning ?
If your life wasn’t paved with Success, if you don’t pass the finish line while holding the shiny trophy of Happiness, if your heart hasn’t tripled in size because of all the Love it has absorbed, then your life might have just been a waste ; or so they say.
Now, I might be slightly exaggerating (kind of my signature move) but the truth is that this is what our lives revolve around and it is constantly being reinforced through everything that we read and watch.
If you go online looking for guidance, you might get overwhelmed at the billions of search results that will pop up. No matter what you are seeking, you might often find various articles with the almost exact same rhetoric and life-changing advice.
“23 Reasons Why You Are Not Successful”
“If you want to be successful, just do these 5 things”
“10 tips to become successful fast”
And the list goes on…
Every blog, website, magazine, book, etc, will want you to believe that they hold a bullet point list of remedies to your lack of success/happiness/love.
And, maybe for a second before you click on that article, you will indeed believe that its words will somehow give you all the answers to this life and you will walk out with a brand new set of tools which will enable you to find your success/happiness/love.
However, after reading ten weirdly similar articles, you might realize that as helpful as some of the advice might be, they are still not really hitting the spot.
Then you may be looking in the wrong place.
People seek these things because they are thought to bring a deeper or grander meaning to their life like a golden empire that will make you rich & whole once you find it.
They have each been built up to look like these glorious things, but the truth is that your success/happiness/love, much like El Dorado, is more of a man covered in gold rather than a golden empire.
Success comes from within. Not in a “t’was always in your heart” kind of way and more in a “what you believe is what you get” kind of way.
It is in that sense that I call it a feeling because much like happiness & love, it is not a trophy that you bring home and just oozes positive energy that makes you feel good and fulfilled forever.
Like most sought-after feelings, it is kind of fleeting and fluctuates depending on the day, your mood, and your goals (which don’t always remain the same either) among other things.
It can last from a second to a certain amount of days where you think “Wow, I did …. And I feel ….”. and then it’s gone. But what fun would it be if you had to feel the same feeling forever ?
The trick with feelings though is that you have to allow yourself to feel them instead of building all of these walls and covering them with this nonsensical fairytale wallpaper.
“Success doesn’t start at the finish line, more so the moment you decide to start trying.”
Success shouldn’t be all about the “big victory!” Although the big headlines are what you may be aiming for in the end, there are many more successes scattered along the road that leads to them and they are just as significant.
You have to go through all the little painful and/or enjoyable things that go into the making of the bigger picture.
I like to remind myself that it is the small details that make up the big picture :
- All the small brushstrokes that look like nothing from up close ;
- All the spilled water/paint/coffee ;
- Accidentally drinking your dirty paint water instead of your coffee ;
- Not finding the perfect colour and being unable to mix it yourself ;
- Every cat hair that gets embedded in the paint, etc.
I could go on with this metaphor but the bottom line is : it’s a hard & tiresome journey but you don’t get to just teleport to your dream destination.
You have to go through every step, as painful as it gets — and sometimes even walk backwards — but the important thing to remember is that success doesn’t start at the finish line but the moment you decide to start trying.
All of the “small” steps that pave the way to your big dreams can be successes if you allow them to be, even the ones that appear as failures — they are a blessing in disguise.
Success as self-care.
As I was explaining to James in the comments of one of his previous posts (which sparked the idea for this guest post), broadening your definition of success is a form of self-care.
There is a whole trend around productivity at the moment which is presenting it as the most important thing in our lives.
Once again we find this narrative of : “If your day wasn’t productive enough, then it was a complete waste.” which is extremely negative and terrible for our mental & physical health.
I myself fall for it all the time so I know it’s not easy.
I have big dreams that I know will take a lot of hard work ! So, I sometimes get lost in this mentality that if I don’t work hard enough in one day then I am practically ruining my own life…
This is a really backwards way of seeing things, I know, but as a person with an anxiety disorder, I often fall prey to these thought patterns.
However, I am learning how to shift my perspective on things to see the smallest accomplishments as victories and how to treat my failures more like achievements & lessons.
Learning to celebrate all victories, even the ones that might seem small on paper, is the healthier alternative to carrying on this big myth of Success and the self-perpetuated hell of never being good enough.
It is a tough thing to do for me because it is a big fight against my anxiety and deeply-engraved patterns in my mind. On some days the only thing I might be able to do is get out of bed and drink enough water and my mind might try to classify it as a shameful failure but it is a big success.
Self-care is another trending topic and it should be your priority above productivity. If your mind & body are in bits and pieces, who is going to build your empire for you ?
That is why I invite you to celebrate all the tiny successes along with the big ones for the sake of your own mind and for the sake of your bigger picture. It’ll help in keeping you strong, resilient and moving forward. ♥
No victory is too small !
One of my dreams has come to life this month which is to own an online shop & make a living out of my art. Although it is just the beginning of this adventure, I have decided to treat it as a huge success.
Old-me would have probably wanted to wait for everything to be in order before she would even begin to consider it as a victory but I like to think that I am a wiser woman now.
I have worked really hard on my first products and although I have not gotten the attention that I wish for (yet!) and my only sales have been to my family & friends, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I did this.
Remember that success comes from within ; so, even when you work hard on something and it goes unnoticed, you still made a thing and that’s worth a celebration !
Let’s celebrate that one view your post got or those ten followers your blog has ! It’s not ten thousand but it’s not zero either. To quote one of my own posts, “cherish your one-man crowd”.
I am all for aiming high & higher but that doesn’t mean that everything below that is worthless.
So, celebrate every step of the way and maybe once you get to that higher place, the feelings might run deeper than a few moments and the final success might feel a little more precious.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, it really is a matter of perspective at the end of the day. We all envision life and accept or give a meaning to certain things depending on what we need/want to see in order to navigate our way through this life. What success means to me or what importance it has in my life is only relevant to me and although you might agree or disagree with me, your perspective is still your own and still the one that matters and guides you through life.
Let me know in the comments how you feel about success. Do you have big dreams or goals that you are working to achieve ? Have you made any of them come true yet ?
Thank you so much for reading ! ♥
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Chloë for writing today’s post in the “What do we mean by Success” series, I really enjoyed reading it. If you would like to check out some of Chloë’s other work, please do visit her page, The Dawn Chorus! Thank you all for reading and i hope you have an amazing day! Let me know what you think about today’s post in the comments below!