Do you feel like a failure because of your illness? Or, do you feel like a success?
Donna over at February Stars shared some great thoughts about how our definition of success relates to chronic illness.
We define our own successes, not societal pressures. When you strip it all back what would you, in the present moment, define as success for yourself? What are your goals right now? I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if someone said to me that I would define being able to wash my hair as a success I would have probably given them a funny look.- FibroGeek
Success is relative and how we define success is personal. My definition of success will not be yours. How we define success may even vary from day to day. Some days I look at a long list of things marked off my “to do” list and still don’t feel like I’ve done much. Other days, I’ve not marked a thing off my list but I still feel like a success because I managed to stay out of bed.
I’ve always felt that my definition of success was a bit different than most. I don’t look at success as something you declare because you have money, or you’ve reached a certain status. It’s not about who you know, what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is. Measuring success based on things will always leave you wanting more.
I believe that success is about happiness and contentment. If I’m happy with where my life is then I’m a success. For years I struggled to feel like a success, despite some great achievements – graduating college, starting and running a successful business (all while dealing with chronic illness). I still felt like a failure because I wasn’t really happy.
Eventually, I had to look at what I was doing and what I really wanted and choose happiness over things. I had to focus on my definition of success instead of someone else’s definition.
Chronic illness can often leave us feeling like we are a failure, like we don’t measure up. But, what is it that we are trying to measure up to? Are we simply comparing ourselves to the world at large? To a definition of success created by society? Maybe it’s time to set new goals. To really consider what makes you happy and what would make you feel successful in this moment.Chronic illness doesn't make you a failure Click To Tweet
I will never have the health I had 15 years ago. I will always have chronic illness. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t be a success. That I can’t be happy. I may have to do things a bit differently than I imagined, but that’s OK. I may move a bit slower, but I’ll still get there.
Focus on the small achievements, the small wins, the small moments of happiness. In each of those is a moment of success. They add up.
How do you define success? Does it differ now that you are living with chronic illness?