How I have figured out how to define success.
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How I have figured out how to define success.

As we are growing and changing, our definitions of certain words vary drastically when we are given a new point of view to look through. Although I am still growing, I never learned what being successful meant to me.

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How I have figured out how to define success.
Photo credit to Tish Cama

Today, one of the biggest things is how you are defined and what you believe matters to you, how the day you see yourself. Growing up, I felt as if I never understood what I was because I let other people control my sense of worth and let them define me. Although I tried to get out of that zone, I never felt complete as I was unsure who I was and where I wanted to be. Starting high school, a massive thing for students is planning out the next four years of their life, what classes are needed, how I get into college, what I want to be when I grow up, and how I become successful.

That was the question I asked myself constantly. I did not know who I was. I always let others define everything for me because they told me they knew better. I never questioned it. I let others tell me what I needed to do to be successful, so throughout high school, I was told it was the grades you had, how people viewed you, how much money you will make in the future, and just materialistic things that I was never fond about. Around this time, I lost that feeling of self-worth and success, thinking I was a failure. I had straight As, I dressed excellent for school, I was friends with everyone, and I stayed positive, but I was unhappy and felt like I was not enough.

Entering my junior year of high school, I became certain that I would not figure out my path and rather just suffer the consequences feeling empty. I had recently suffered from an eating disorder and gone through a depressive episode. Instead of being passionate about the world, I just sat in a grey area where everything around me lost the value it deserved from me. I became anti-social and just wanted to be alone.

Rather than have that feeling throughout the year, I convinced myself it was time for change and grew as a person. All my anxiety came from others. I did not have a sense of worth because I let people define me my entire life. I was unsure where to start until I became passionate about others. I discovered the actual value to myself. I was taking a psychology class, and we were talking about how the brain is a complex organ that we honestly are not sure about still. But we control what information we hold dear to us and what we remove to create change. I began to start taking care of myself to see the value of myself.

I have looked to others for help and what to be in my life. I did not know where I should start. I was a sixteen-year-old who was incredibly underweight and had more anxiety than a dog to a vacuum. I reflected on who I was and discovered that instead of letting myself tell me who to be, I let society control my image on everything. I did not have any individuality as I allowed the world to say who I was. I spent nights crying. I was helpless, thinking it was too late for me. But it is never too late.

I struggled with my individuality for years, and I still do. I do not know what path I am on, nor do I know where I will go, but success comes from within. It is not defined by anyone but by you. I was unhappy trying to please everyone and never got a moment to be myself but someone for everyone else. I expressed my success in the end; although I am still on my journey, I discovered what I started needing to do. You have to put yourself first in society. You cannot let others come before your own health.

You matter, and whenever you lack on it, it is like you are putting yourself last. Think about Thanksgiving dinner. You are the turkey and all your friends and others as the side dishes. You feel the turkey is okay in the oven, so you focus on all the sides. However, you then realize that you have not checked on the turkey in a while. You are the turkey and need to take care of yourself. Success is not defined the same for everyone, but rather it is what you think it is to be your best self.

For me, I discovered it was truly happy.

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