These are the reasons why success does not lead to satisfaction
If we asked 1,000 people what they understood by success, I am convinced that 90% of the answers would have to do with a buoyant economic position, a recognizable social status or a job situation that arouses admiration. However, as a psychologist, I have to face a harsh reality that is observed every day in our offices: many people with a high purchasing power, enviable jobs and unquestionable social recognition do not find happiness in everything they have achieved. This leads us to question whether our conceptions of success and happiness are truly aligned.
Success, as we understand it socially, is not always related to genuine happiness and emotional fulfillment. In my experience as a psychologist, I have learned that there are as many definitions of success as there are individuals on the planet. Each person has his or her own vision of success and it is crucial to construct this definition in an individualized way, without allowing social or cultural expectations to distort our true goal.
In recent years, we have been bombarded by the media, social media and opinion leaders with the idea that success is within the reach of everyone who sets their mind to it, the dialectic of achievable dreams if you want it very strongly. However, this narrative has created an endless source of frustration for many people who fail to achieve their desired goals. The reality is very blunt in this regard: if success implies sacrifice, exclusive dedication and lack of time for our health, relationships and leisure, it is more likely to generate stress rather than happiness.
So what is the secret to true happiness?
Balance is the key. The path to happiness lies in establishing a healthy balance in our lives, both in our relationship with ourselves and in the way we relate to others. We must dedicate time to our professional growth as well as to our personal relationships and personal well-being. If we can integrate elements that enrich each of these aspects into our definition of success, we will have achieved a true definition of success.
Each of us sets our idea of success in different aspects of life. Some people want to succeed professionally and devote time, space and attention to setting and achieving career goals. On the other hand, there are those who focus their success on their relationship, looking for a fluid communication, a common project and a deep connection with their partner.
What is meant by happiness
In my years of experience as a therapist, I have observed that people often come for consultation when something is not going well in their lives and they feel destabilized. Often, these problems go unnoticed in day-to-day life, as we are on autopilot. Those who have more balance in their lives distribute their attention between different areas, such as personal, work and emotional.
Does being resilient guarantee success in everything you set out to do?
It is essential to become aware of whether we really have what we need and want in our lives. Sometimes, we go by inertia and we don’t realize it. The more facets we have in our life, the easier it will be to be connected with ourselves, which is key to well-being.
A relevant aspect is to identify the relationships that benefit us and separate those that harm us. If there are toxic people in our environment, we can learn to manage those relationships in a healthy way, even if the other does not. It is possible to relate to people who have accumulated grudges or resentments, and learn to set boundaries that protect our emotional well-being. This involves acting as a mirror, giving constructive feedback and redirecting negative dynamics.
It is essential to address and heal emotional wounds that we have not been able to deal with. In the consultation, we teach people to decrease emotional intensity, broaden perspective and identify what is harmful to them on a personal level. The goal is to reach a common comfort zone, where each individual finds his or her place.
Social pressure has always existed and, nowadays, social media has increased its impact. However, we can use these platforms to normalize our daily lives and contribute to our own happiness. Showing our real life, with its ups and downs and less-than-ideal moments, can be liberating and foster greater authenticity.
I invite you to question the goals you have set for yourself in life and reflect on whether they are really yours and will make you happy. It is also crucial to dedicate regular and quality time to yourself, prioritizing self-care and emotional well-being in our routine.