How I measure success?

I often time beat myself up because I am not as far a long as I would like to be in life. I am not in a relationship; I don’t have a family or kids; I don’t have an exciting career; I am not even living on my own; I feel left behind. I compare myself to the people I had grown up with and all the achievements they have made; while I sometimes feel like a failure. But then I remember all the obstacles that came my way; I remember difficulties in school due to learning disabilities; I was very smart but the mainstream way of teaching was not getting through to me; I felt left behind and it is because I have my own style of learning things and I have learned to adapt over the years. It’s probably why I struggled in high school yet thrived in college; for example I would get lost if I was trying to take notes during a lecture; I couldn’t keep up with the professor; my handwriting was illegible and I didn’t learn a thing. It wasn’t until I just listened to the lecture and studied twice as hard before a test; that I was able to do well at college. To me since I do have learning disabilities; just functioning in a classroom and getting passing grades to me is a success; it may seem small to someone else but to me it is a big deal because I never thought I’d be doing so well in school or getting so close to a degree; it was a nice pipe dream but I didn’t think it would actually happen ( although it has taken me many years)

I think back to the emotional difficulties I faced as a kid and how difficult it was to make friends. I just had such trouble relating to others; being able to hold a conversation; managing my feelings appropriately; all of this was extremely difficult for me. I used to act in anger all the time ( I have my moments but I have improved) and it got me kicked out of many schools and sent away to treatment centers and I look back and wish that if I had just controlled my anger; I could have stayed in regular high school and maybe been more successful. I look at myself and I am a lot calmer than I used to; I handle situations a hell of of lot better than in the past. I manage my anxiety by writing; working out and reaching out to my friends ; I don’t have to act out anymore. Writing has been my saving grace and has allowed me to make sense of all these complex emotions I face on the daily. While I still have trouble making friends; I put myself out there more; I am more involved in helping others; I try to meet other people who share my interests. I am actually going to a poetry reading tonight for the first time and I’m pretty excited and a little nervous ( although I won’t share) but these are things are I never did before because I was fearful. I face my fears these days and you can’t be successful if you are under constant fear and afraid to take risks; you can’t have success without risk.

For most people having a job is something you just do; you get up; get ready for work and put in your 8 hour/40 hr a week a job; they don’t realize that for some people going to work can be very difficult; both on a emotional and a physical level. I, like so many other Americans suffer from a number of disabilities and working has always been difficult for me. For me being on my feet 8 hours a way; dealing with a bad stomach and co-workers and bosses that don’t seem to give a shit can make the work day seem impossible; those 8 hours can be daunting. But I have gotten to a point ( believe or not) where I get up everyday; I get ready; out the door without any complaints; I just do it because it needs to get done. I hate working but I can’t expect anyone to carry me financially; I have bills that need to be paid and as far as I know working is the only way to make money ( legally at least) Today I manage to be as productive as possible and stay out of everyone’s way; I don’t talk about anyone or antagonize my co-workers; I ignore the bullshit and the gossiping because I want make my day as productive as possible. So I try to keep my emotions in check and that is very hard when you have a controlling store manager or backstabbing co-workers but I tell myself this is temporary and soon I will be on to bigger and better things; no need to be negative; this was not happening in the past. I was such a miserable person to be around in my previous job; I was spiteful and was the biggest shit talker you’ve ever met; I was in physical pain and I took it out on anyone I could find; I am truly ashamed of my behavior and wish I could take it back. At that time my stress was through the roof and every workday was an ordeal. I remember at my old job there was this new guy and he was pretty extroverted and able to make friends with everyone pretty quickly. He came back to me one day and she said some girl there told him that all I did was talk bad about people; I felt hurt at my behavior. Nowadays I don’t act that way at all; I respect others; I don’t complain; I do my stint at work and I go home; like everyone else. I am proud of the worker I am today and I would call that success. It may not be financial success but I have a steady income; work more hours; havE better relationships with my co-workers. Sometimes I can’t believe how much things have changed. I feel the person I was 7 or 8 years ago no longer exists; but it took a lot of work to get here; it didn’t happen overnight. But nonetheless the last two years of employment have been a success in my book.

This blog isn’t all about me though; success is subjective;dependent upon your situation. I also don’t want this post to seem self centered or self pitying; I hope someone can read it and feel inspired by it and strive for their own successes. There may be someone reading this that has such severe depression they can’t get out of bed. They may spend most of those days sleeping or lost in their sadness; unable to get off the couch. Success to them may mean meeting a friend for lunch or joining a class. Success may mean going back into to therapy and having that safe place to express their feelings. Or someone could have a physical disability and they managed to get in their wheelchair and go to the grocery store or the park and that is success. Someone may have stomach problems like me and they finally managed to find a diet that works and go a day without being sick and that is a huge success for them. Or how about someone is bi-polar who manages to get hired at their first job and the pride that comes with getting that first paycheck after being broke for so many years. Most people without difficulties don’t look at these things as achievements because they take their health for granted. They figure I can work 40 hours a week; why can’t they?. Success is a personal thing and is not always measured in terms of money, huge achievements or relationships; it’s the little things. Am I a better person than I used to be? Do I handle situations better than in the past? Have I learned to take care of myself both emotionally or physically? Some of us face so many obstacles but we can’t give up and we can’t let the world dictate to us what success means. We have to strive for success on our own terms and be proud of our achievements; even if it just means getting out of bed today. So thank you for as always for taking the time to read my blog and take care of yourselves.

Dave

 

 

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5 thoughts on “How I measure success?

  1. Hey,

    this sentence got me: “I also don’t want this post to seem self centered or self pitying; I hope someone can read it and feel inspired by it and strive for their own successes.”

    I understand the self-doubt, and yet don’t be so hard on yourself.

    The only thing though I am not doing anymore is to “strive”. I don’t strive for any success. I work towards being whole again, doing my best of course, but I do not strive anymire.

    And neither should you.

    Liked by 1 person

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