We could talk for hours on the true measure of success, longer still on the meaning of happiness as a value not related to material hoarding and we’d never agree on a single point – that’s the beauty and the allure of both success and happiness. Well, for ME, anyway – I’d contradict myself if that opening line concluded with me prescribing your success and happiness to you.
Both ideas – both concepts – are fluid,dynamic, changing. It is easier to grasp success as a concept if you make it a destination in time, with milestones set in time, bank accounts and possessions: “By age 40 I want a large house, a wife and five kids, to own my own company and take home five bar a year. That will make me happy!“
My experience is that such a pointlessly shallow, stereotypical recipe of what success is often excludes happiness. But that’s just my experience.
I’ve been told that I’m successful, that my journey to healing has been a success, that I have beaten the addiction. I believed that last part,for a while, and became complacent. I failed, and risked the success others claimed for me, my behalf.
It is true that I also beat myself up more than you can, that I am more critical of myself than you could ever be, and so I’ve started to think of the loads of little successes I’ve had, the multitude of happy moments I’ve enjoyed, the amazing support I’ve been privy to and I’m confident that I AM successful, and I AM happy. These are not trite conclusions, they are weighed down by deep thoughts on opportunities not taken, doors closed by years of drug addiction. Still, I emerge a success, and a happy one, which is a rare bird indeed. I am successful because I made a very good attempt to stuff up everything, over 18 years, and then decided to do a one-eighty with my life, and in an amazingly short space of time, I have removed addiction as a daily force, a ‘near and present danger’, and I have become enthused with a passion to live, and achieve, qualities long missing in my life.
So you could say that I should be happy because of what I have achieved. But that would smack of arrogance. I am happy, because I have realised I am powerless, and that I need to hand my life over to one more powerful than I am.
Whether you pray to God, or Buddha, or the Universe, whether you align with this flavour of spirituality or that strain of community, it is only when you give up the firm belief that you are the centre of the universe, and realise that your successes are not measured by how much you earn or own, but by how earnestly you engage in living, in enjoying being alive, and by enhancing the lives of those around you, that you will understand that only you will know when you are both successful and happy.
The power lies within you, and is engaged by those little words, daily, forming the prayer of your life. This has been my revelation, and now the journey truly begins for me.
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