I can't take credit for what I am going to blog about today. I wish I had the wisdom to figure this out by myself. It took someone who knows me better than anyone else to look at me, with honest and truth, to verbalize what I have always thought about happiness. All the thoughts that swirl in my head every day can mean nothing without believing in this.
Happiness makes you successful.
Success does not always make you happy.
For me this logic makes so much sense. So much sense that I didn't even stop to really think about it. I have been going around for YEARS (!!) trying to be good at everything. I ran around finding the "best" education, getting outstanding grades, a successful job, trying to be a more successful runner, looking for a more successful position or job, and the list goes on. Seriously. Why? What for? So I could go around touting my success? So someone else would look at me and say "Wow, she is successful"?
Did that make me any happier? Nope.
This is a slightly hard realization for me. See, I always thought there was more to happiness but I just couldn't come up with a concrete reason. Perhaps I didn't know any better or didn't want to face the fact that success is superficial. By acknowledging that success is not as important as I have made it to be, then all my hard work seems to be in vain, and pushing me further away from true happiness. Why admit to that?
This morning I was excited to tell my husband about possible advancements in my job.I had talked with my boss yesterday and we had discussed where my career could be headed, what training I could do help myself succeed and how long that might take. After I told him all this, he looked at me, said "That's great honey" and without anything further went about his routine. It bothered me that he didn't seem excited, he didn't even ask a question about it. I confronted him about it, asking why it didn't seem like he cared. He replied with "I do care but is that always going to make you happy? ...you think success makes you happy but really you should be thinking happiness makes you successful."
Just like that. Like it was a simple fact he figured out long ago. What? Where did I miss that note? I read every thing I find about success I can. How did he just know that?
Then I cried.
I cried because I realized how right he was. I had always done more to be more successful. Successful to whom though? If I thought success would make me happy, why have I been sad or upset about my success? I was not living to be happy but living to be successful in other people's eyes. I have been trying to do my best to look good on a resume or make my parents proud. My success was not defined by what made me, ME, happy.
Enough. I decided this morning that I had had enough of that thinking. No more. I cannot, and should not, go through life trying to be the most successful person at everything I do. I need to focus on what makes me happy, not on how successful I think I could be. It's exhausting to try to be successful in order to reach happiness.
I want to be happy; success will follow.
I am lucky to have someone around to tell me when I am wrong. I won't be heading down this path again.