My research involved those struggling to heal from the trauma of betrayal. At the beginning of my participants’ healing journey, their perception of success may have involved simply getting out of bed and facing their day. Yet, as they healed, their perception of success shifted to feeling safe, secure, regaining their health, finding the gift left in the wake of their trauma, and rebuilding their life.
As the perceptions of my study participants changed as they moved through their experience, my perception of success has changed as well. This experience has led to an entirely different perception of success and one that I believe is needed so desperately today.
What is success? The newest car, the biggest house, the prettiest face or the most perfectly behaved children as determined by societal standards? If so, who are we when those external measures fade over time?
If your measure of success is achieved through the accolades others bestow upon you-who are you when you no longer receive those accolades?
If your measure of success is judged by what you collect, what happens when you stop collecting?
If success is achieved at the expense of family, integrity, connection, meaning or contribution, can it really be considered a success?
Who are you if you come in last place if you don’t raise your hand if you take a longer route or travel a different path?
What became so apparent during this journey was how fleeting and empty external measures of success can be, especially when we understand that we’re feeding the unrelenting needs of the ego versus nourishing ourselves fully with our soul’s calling for deep, rich and meaningful experiences. How has this created a new definition of success?
Here’s what I now see so clearly.
When you can enjoy the quiet of your own company, that’s success
When you can easily open your heart for someone in need, that’s success
When you can think about those you love as a smile curls your lips and a warmth envelops your heart, that’s success
When you can surrender and grow comfortable with the discomfort of the unknown, that’s success.
When you think of giving up, giving in and going back to what was old and familiar…then refuse and remain on your journey forward, that’s success.
Success is facing your fears, slaying your dragons, healing your wounds and loving yourself.
Success is thanking your ego for trying to protect you as you choose to trust the voice of your highest self instead.
Success is knowing that even if you have nothing, you have everything you need to create a life that’s rich, fulfilling and beautiful.
Success is the outpouring of love from within, regardless of what external signs of validation you receive.
Success is using your biggest obstacles as the catalysts to reveal your greatest gifts.
Success is knowing that you are worthy, deserving and lovable…simply because you exist.
Hellen Keller said:
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Here’s my wish for you:
May you use your skills and insights to drive humanity forward
May your new insights light a path to the trail you’re now ready to blaze
May you reflect with pride on how far you’ve come, then lovingly allow for your next and most exciting chapter to unfold.
May you serve as a role model and mentor, enthusiastically yet humbly sharing your light so that others are inspired to do the same
You got this.