A measure of success

When we can’t see, or equate how we feel with how others have made us feel, then we know we’re emotionally damaged. It would go on to take me many years to see or understand that I was.

It took countless guilt trips, until one day the penny dropped that the guilt I’d been carrying for all those years, wasn’t mine to carry. That our environment and the people in it, affect the way we feel about ourselves and how we go on to look at our accomplishments.

I thought I’d failed, that others looking at my achievements would think the same thing, because there was nothing concrete for them to see, but now I believe differently. I was very much a success. I’d survived neglect and emotional abuse and that very much made me a success.

It’s also incredibly sad that families, people and society, place too much emphasis on education and use that to measure how successful their children become and that’s not it. Well perhaps it’s a part of it, but not all. Being good at passing exams is just one element. For us to continue to be successful, we must learn to communicate well.

We must also offer an open hand, be caring, compassionate, open and honest.  Those are the qualities that will bring about success, with what the universe anticipates or expects from us. That should be our measure of success. Too much emphasis is placed on our achievements and if you haven’t achieved, others believe you’ve failed.

When we pass over, people see our achievements as our success stories, more than they see the person. What I have managed to achieve through my site is of course my success story, but what it took for me to get to have this success is more important. Without my struggles, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.

Perhaps we need to measure people’s success, not by what we see but what they went through to meet with that success.


21 Jul, 2017

8 thoughts on “A measure of success

  1. People so often are judged for what they may do, versus who they really are. The only ones that get talked about are the ones who win the most gold medals or the most trophies which isn’t exactly the same.

    The sad reality is that the people who usually do the most, are the ones who hardly ever get the recognition they deserve. I have watched this happen time and time again, which proves that life definitely isn’t always very fair.

    One of my biggest fears it seems, turns out to be to actually have some success thanks to parents who made me feel guilty for wanting my own life. Cruel and unusual punishment was a polite way of describing what my parents did to me.

    Later on, when I was an adult and on my own, I continued punishing myself for crimes I didn’t commit, when I didn’t know any different. They are both dead finally and I still have those old tapes playing in my head.

    By today’s standards, I don’t have a lot of the material success, but I have always done what was best for everyone else and hadn’t considered my own needs, wants or desires. Only now do I even begin to start feeling like it’s okay to work on getting what I want, versus the usual behavior of people pleasing.

    I won’t be able to have the kind of success I wanted as a kid, but I can work on making the best of what time I do have left. I’m not quite sure about ever being “happy” but I would be OK with “comfortable in my own skin!”

    1. Thanks Randy. Yes, sadly unless parents guide and support their children, or their children are capable of doing it for themselves, they will begin to struggle.

      It’s very easy for children to ‘blame themselves’ for the things they haven’t achieve, but the reality is that without the support it would be difficult to achieve and that has nothing to do with us. It’s a parent’s job to support their child.

      They say we’re as ‘happy’ as we choose to be. That’s really up to us. It’s also up to us to choose how we want to live and who we want to share our lives with.

      And that even without the success in our formative years, we can still find success later on.

  2. I was looked upon as the ‘black sheep’ in the family. It’s hard to explain it, but basically I wasn’t expected to do well in school or life, because my life expectancy at the time was limited. So my parents didn’t encourage me in life skills like they did my sister.

    Almost all of my cousins (on both sides of the family) went off to college and obtained degrees and are basically successful. Some very successful even, while I was the rebel.

    I remember when I was 8, in the hospital with diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (I was there 3 weeks total), I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I told everyone, even the doctors and nurses.

    I was encouraged at the time as little kids are, by everyone but as I got older the encouragement stopped. When I finished high school I had no direction so I plundered for 2 years, still no support about my future. Then I just decided I would go to nursing school.

    I finished and passed boards. I still don’t remember any encouragement about my future, while all the others were talked about in highest esteem and my sister especially. I was still the black sheep.’ I was still the rebel.

    I don’t think I was abused at all; I think my parents just didn’t know what to do or say because the medical people gave them poor hope for my future and that’s what they expected from me.

    I practiced my profession well and went farther in life as the years went by. My father finally told me one day how proud he was of me. Then after he passed away my mother told me a few years later how proud of me she was and bragged about my accomplishments to everyone.

    But others are still hung up on how well others in the family are and it’s really about how well they’ve done financially, rather than in life (which I think is more important).

    People develop opinions of others early in life and tend to stick with it, no matter how well things turn out. But success won’t get you anywhere in the end.

    It’s not right to judge people by their success. I think it puts a stigma on people and a lot live up to what is expected of them, not what they can actually accomplish in life.

    1. Thanks Lisa. As they say ‘to judge is to be judged’ and you’re right. Society as a whole tends to judge people by their success, particularly in communities and culture.

      I cannot obviously comment on the relationship with you and your sister, but I know because I have seen it myself that parents tend to make a difference between those children whose ability is obvious from an early age. Those children will excel and continue to excel in classroom situations, whereas their siblings may not.

      I also think it’ s a generation thing with parents. As their parents before them, they parent the same way with us. The said reality is that children will have different strengths and weaknesses, but all parenting must be the same regardless. Your diabetes should not have come into the equation.

      As children, I think subconsciously we’ve already worked out the pecking order with our parents and where we fit in with our families. I think your last paragraph sums up your response nicely.

      I think it’s not always right to judge by a person’s success alone. Expectations do run high when people think we should be successful, followed by disappointment when those expectations aren’t met.

  3. You never failed. Those around you and who you should have been able to rely on failed and let you down, in doing so. As you say the guilt was never yours and you have certainly proved your doubters wrong.

    1. Yes, it’ s always hard to shift the patterns we create for ourselves, even if we know we shouldn’t be carrying them. Ditto on your thoughts. Thank you.

  4. Sometimes I’m impatient with aimless talk of success that’s pretty much based on the acquisition of things. It sort of makes you feel empty when you finally arrive and realize you’ve been bamboozled.

    Ilana, you were successful when you grew above impossible situations and left your spirit unaltered.

    1. Thanks Tim. Yes, that’s also true for me. It’s not always something we’re consciously aware of, but when we can rise above situations and instinctively do what’s right, without being drawn into other people’s chaos, we will have the opportunity of meeting with success.

      I believe the key to anyone’s success is being true to who we are, on a spiritual and emotional level. Inner workings are always massively important and yet we fail to use them, because we buy into these acquisitions you talk about.

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