Success is the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted. The natural starting position for success therefore is of not having yet achieved, the end point recognising when you have.
However, for those with low self esteem and high self criticism, the tendency to minimise or ignore what they have accomplished means that success for them remains forever what has not yet been achieved. Things that have been accomplished are quickly disregarded if they are ever acknowledged at all and new goals are continuously identified and set so that these individuals are left constantly pushing themselves forward, constantly reminding themselves that what they have is not yet good enough and that they are not yet good enough. They afford themselves no break, no reward, no nurture, and no time to enjoy the benefits of what they have achieved. The pressure to achieve is unrelenting as the goal posts constantly shift and with them the sense of having anything valuable; success always remains just out of reach.
For the happily married financially secure woman who has been unable to conceive success is a baby. For the low paid father of three with an active social life success is a financially more rewarding job. For the divorced woman who has successfully balanced motherhood and a career success is a partner. For the successful and shy young business man success is more friends.
Striving for what we haven’t yet achieved has many advantages and our tendency to be driven in this way is one of the innate qualities that has made us so successful as a race. Our development, indeed our survival as a race, is dependent upon this drive. However, an integral part of Success is the ability to recognise when we have achieved something that we desired or set out to attain and then to cherish and enjoy the benefits that this brings. It is about holding on to the importance of this something and not degrading it just because we now possess it; this is tendency of those with low self esteem, to denigrate objects and people associated or connected with them. Also pivotal in Success is the ability to reframe from a constant negative comparison with others and to accept that it is not possible to have everything you desire. Without these abilities not only will a feeling of being successful elude us so will a feeling of wellbeing, satisfaction and comfort within ourselves. These feelings will instead be replaced by self doubt, depression, anxiety and hopelessness about the future.
If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed in this article and would like to seek professional help then you may find our page about Low Self Esteem useful.