"To be happy."
"To do your best."
Feeling successful is tricky, isn't it? Doing your best is good. But what if your best isn't good enough? Does success have to be so hinged on our outward accomplishments? And what of the "be happy" suggestion? Happiness does seem to be the obvious answer—and it is a good one, don't get me wrong—but figuring out what one needs to be “happy” isn’t quite so obvious.
My friend Caitlin left me some helpful words:
"Jack, don't lose faith in yourself. We all fall into bad places from time to time where it feels like we'll never get out, but the truth is that each and every one of us has the potential to succeed. I have had experiences in my life that have torn me to pieces and made me feel like I could never succeed but then I look around and realize that I (like you) am a smart and resourceful person and I (like you) have awesome dreams that are totally within my grasp if I work hard and most importantly that I (again, like you) have a million amazing people around me who love and support me and will help me get where I want to be. Just don't forget who you are and all those people around you that love you. Life is what you make of it. Sometimes you have to make the best out of the bottom rung on the ladder."Caitlin really emphasized the importance of a network of amazing friends. Remembering that success is being happy, then simply having friends can be a success in and of itself. It's not easy to maintain friendships! To have friends one must be kind, generous, unselfish and compassionate. If one can achieve these qualities, certainly he is successful! Not everyone is kind. Not everyone is compassionate. By this definition, I feel like I am a lot more successful than I sometimes think.
And I do love making new friends. Lexi is one of my newest friends, and yesterday she texted me saying:
"You are so genuine and sweet and you have such a wonderful gift with people!"So is that where my success lies? My ability and willingness to connect with people? Being with people I love certainly makes me happy. And I hope that I make them happy in return. I'm in a loving relationship with a man I would do anything for. We are happy together. Maybe we aren't successful in any worldly sense of the word. Maybe we have no accolades to boast of. No newsworthy accomplishments. No interviews on television, vacations in Paris or paparazzi at our door. We can't be googled or found in a history book, but in many many ways I think Brian and I are already very successful.
We're on our bottom rung, paying our dues, and waiting it out. We are doing our best. We are happy. We are loved. We are successful. And I bet you anything, if you take a look at your life you will find that you are successful too. It's just a thought.