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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Measure of Success

My life has been far from the societal definition of success.  You're supposed to graduate from college with a super awesome smart degree and make a career out of it (or advance further in graduate school).  From there, you have to climb the ladder of success and get promoted to better paying positions.  Society likes to measure success in the amount of money you make from your career.  If you make a lot of money, then you must be a successful, smart person.  Of course do not forget the option of becoming a lawyer or doctor.  Those are the professions that make Asian parents the most proud and require years of extra schooling and lots of training.  Those professions almost guarantee a very steady and huge income. 

Then there's me.  I only have a simple bachelor's degree, and I have no experience to show for it.  I would like to give myself the excuse that I am the by product of a rough economy and graduated during the start of the collapse.  Those are just excuses.  I simply tried, got hurt multiple times, saw myself as a complete failure, and I gave up.  I worked for a year in a position which helped me regain sanity, but it also proved to hurt my self-esteem.  I compared myself to others and didn't see myself measuring up.  Sigh.  I am now no longer working and stay at home due to my health.  Now I feel even smaller than ever before.  :(

Why do I bring this up?  I had a dream this morning that my MIL brought up the topic of work and when I would begin looking again.  It brought me to tears, and I went straight to the bathroom to hide from family members at the dinner table.  It is a sensitive topic, one of which she had brought up to me two years ago when I was going no where in my job search.  She would ask why I couldn't work at hospital like her daughter (my SIL had connections for the position, she was studying pharmacy at the time, & it still took them the whole summer to get back to her).  Why couldn't I work at a restaurant (I could but I couldn't).  Why not work at Costco (applied & never heard back.. I was desperate)?

My MIL has brought up the success of my husband's ex-girlfriend, the one I have been told she didn't like very much.  Even if it is not intentional, it gets rubbed in my face.  I am not money driven.  I did not graduate with a very smarty pants degree.  I am nothing like her.  Thanks.

So while I sit here at home waiting for my husband to come home (as I do every weekday), I feel defeated.  I know my husband loves me and doesn't measure success in the same way society does.  I just can't help but to feel like I've disappointed everyone around me.

While I've been comparing myself to success defined by society, I don't exactly measure success that way.  I measure it in relation to happiness.  Even though there are days (like today) when I feel so small and insignificant, I am very happy.  I have a loving husband, my soul mate, who completes every bit of me.  I look at him and fall in love all over again every single day, even the days when I'm upset at him over something small.  He supports me emotionally, physically, and mentally.  We are fortunate to have a place we call home and share our lives together as husband and wife.  In the beginning of our relationship, whenever times were bad, he would remind me that it was the two of us against the world.  No matter what happens around us, as long as we have each other, everything will be okay.

So this is where I stand:

Society - 999999
Me - 0

or

Me + Husband = Happiness = Win!

I wish it was that easy.  I go back and forth.  I see myself as a failure, and then all of a sudden I jump back to remembering how happy I am.  I have my good days, and I have my bad days.  Today probably isn't the best day because of my dream.  This is also the second dream this week where my MIL made me cry.  I have to remind myself to keep strong.  Overall life has been treating me well, even if society tells me I'm not successful.  I am happy and content.

2 comments:

Lena said...

Success is like beauty - it's in the eye of the beholder. According to my dad, I'm not a success because I refuse to actively seek a higher position in the corporate world and work my way up to being CEO of a major company. That's not what I want to do and it won't make me happy. And at the end of the day, all that matters is how you feel, not other people. If you can't look at yourself and honestly say you're happy, then something needs to change, no matter how "successful" you may be. Forget what society thinks. Your success is up to you how you want to define it. Focus on yourself and H and what makes you happy, because you deserve it =)

Yin said...

@Lena: Nicely put! Luckily my parents are not ashamed of my lack of "success" and focus on the other things that could possibly make me a good daughter. Now only if I could forget what society thinks... maybe I can. I'll just focus on my own happiness. Thanks, Lena! :)

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