We live in a society of achievements, where we judge and are judged by how much we’ve accomplished in life. Results look good on the outside, but the satisfaction they bring is temporary. Every time you do a stellar job, the pressure to perform well on the next task doesn’t fade. Instead, you’ll need to perform even better next time and outdo even your own prior accomplishments. Tracking your worth by achievements is a vicious cycle. That cycle will inevitably be broken when you fail to meet the impossibly high standards you’ve set for yourself.
We place too much value on our careers, job positions, money, and material possessions. And it’s harming your self-worth. A sense of self-worth built on achievement is highly unstable. If you have two recent successes under your belt, but your latest project was mediocre, are you less valuable?
What if your next project isn’t only mediocre but fails spectacularly? Instead of average, you’ve now become a failure. But if you can just manage to ace the next job that comes your way, you’ll once again be a stellar player.
Doesn’t this sound exhausting, confusing, and more than a little inaccurate?
If you track success according to your achievements, when can you stop measuring your worth? Can you ever be content in your own value?
It’s important to stop measuring your worth, learn to be content with yourself, and evaluate what really matters. Several small, negative beliefs and habits do us more harm than good. You can start by identifying and altering these behaviors and thoughts in your own life.
1. Don’t Compare
Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to feel bad about yourself. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is a pointless and exhausting way to live your life. Doing this can make you feel jealous, sad and insecure.
Today, it’s easier than ever to compare. Social media makes everyone’s lives public. What we must remember is that everyone wants to look good. No one shares their worst moments publicly. All the stories we see on social media are overwhelmingly positive and filled with accomplishments. Some people even fake their accomplishments and a perfect life to look good online.
How many times have you seen someone post about getting a job interview? How about the times when someone didn’t get an interview?
When we compare ourselves to others, we’re not only doing something unnecessary; we’re also comparing ourselves against an unrealistic standard. What you see online or in the media isn’t representative of a person’s entire life.
2. Define Your Own Vision of Success
Instead of striving for another person’s version of a success story, create your own. Although you might be comparing yourself to people in the same age bracket, the reality is that those people are not you.
You have your unique path to success, and you might be surprised to find that you are successful, just as you are now.
When you’re defining success by your own terms, throw out anything that isn’t important to you. Having a prestigious job, making a lot of money, owning a big house in a affluent neighborhood, and being married with kids are all hallmarks of success that society prescribes, but how much do you want any of these things?
Is a regular, 9-to-5 job in corporate what you want to do because everyone else you know does it? Or are you better suited to more flexible work?
Success is an individual journey, so the standards set by society are irrelevant.
While you’re reflecting on success, consider some of these questions:
- What do you love to do?
- Which causes are important to you?
- What legacy do you want to leave in this world?
- What kind of person do you want to be?
- How would you define a “life well lived”?
Your success might not be quantifiable or look like an achievement. Nourishing relationships, building a family, challenging yourself, and constant growth won’t show up on a resume or in the form of an award, but they can be much more awarding.
3. Don’t Strive for Perfect
I’ll let you in on a secret: perfect doesn’t exist. People make mistakes.
Perfectionism isn’t a sign of hard work or dedication. It’s a harmful belief that can cause unnecessary stress and can hold you back.
Striving for perfection only prevents you from freely learning new skills and having eye-opening experiences. Some of the most instructional periods of our lives are when we make mistakes and failures.
Failure can be painful and embarrassing, but it shouldn’t be. Influential figures throughout history had experienced several failures before they caught even a glimpse of success. Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts before he successfully created a functioning light bulb. Michael Jordan’s shooting average was less than 50 percent, but he worked even harder to make up for his misses.
Struggling to be perfect can stop you from trying anything that seems to have a high risk of failure. Eventually, perfectionist tendencies won’t let you try anything new at all.
4. Discover What You Love About Yourself
List the things that you love about yourself that are unrelated to your achievements. At first, it will probably be difficult to complete a list. We’re often so focused on accomplishments – both our own and others’ – that we don’t fully appreciate other traits.
Brainstorming for this list is an exercise in self-care and self-love.
If you’re stuck, ask family and friends to name something they love about you.
Thinking about how you view others can be eye-opening too.
Do your loved ones need to earn your love? Do they need a certain number of awards before you can love them or see their worth? What about your pets? Do they need to jump through hoops (perhaps literally) and always behave perfectly to receive your love?
The answer is obvious. So then why do we hold ourselves to such high standards?
You might find that you’re an excellent listener, and that’s something that you and your friends strongly value. Perhaps you’re generous, and you love giving gifts. Maybe you’re loving and kind – don’t be embarrassed to admit it! We all have several character strengths that add up one unique personality.
You’ll realize that there’s much more to yourself than your accomplishments. None of these traits will change if your next endeavor is a failure.
Learn to be content with yourself as you are, independent of your work and accomplishments, and stop measuring your worth.
Have you learned how to stop measuring your worth in achievements? Please leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts on this subject. Join our holistic community by signing up for our email updates, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join us on Instagram, and pin with us on Pinterest to get all the latest healthy recipes, health tips, event notifications, and information on increasing your energy, strength, and immunity with whole foods and holistic lifestyle solutions.
Szymon Pelechowicz is the founder of Love Meditating www.lovemeditating.com/yoga/, a meditation-yoga blog dedicated to provide honest advice and information.
He aspires to help his readers achieve inner peace and tranquility, sharing personal tips learned through both years of experience and thorough research.