My friend Robert commented on my last post, "What I want to know is what would make you, Regina Rodriguez, truly feel like a success? We all know that you think of yourself as a failure, despite our love, respect, admiration, and protestations to the contrary. I want to hear what you would need in your life to truly consider yourself a success?"
If I earned my living at a job that were both fun and worthwhile, a job that made me feel like I were spending my time and talents in the best way possible and I could sustain a loving, intimate relationship that never stopped stretching us and teaching us how to love and I had enough money and resources to keep throwing parties regularly, then I might eventually come to see myself as...a post-failure. Sorry, I was taught early and thoroughly that self-loathing comes first. I think I'd need a brain transplant to ever see myself as a success, except in those specific "not hooked on drugs" ways.
Okay, I suspect that won't satisfy Robert. Let me go into detail. I think I could see myself as a success if I were to replace my traditional ideas of success with very non-traditional ideas of success.
MY TRADITIONAL CONCEPT OF SUCCESS:
Having A Career
Measurable Career Achievements (earning a certain amount of money or reaching a certain number of the target population, etc.)
Public Recognition of those career achievements
Clear Life Choices that don't threaten the status quo
MY NON-TRADITIONAL CONCEPT OF SUCCESS:
Earning a living in a way that feels right for you
Living (at least most of the time) by one's principles and values
Making room for others in your life as it feels comfortable for you
Not consuming more than you need
Telling the truth
Listening to the truth
Focusing on happiness first (yours and others')
If I could truly replace one with the other, if I could really let go of the messages I've heard my entire life about how I'm supposed to be, if the items in the second list really weighed more to me than those in the first, and if I woke up tomorrow and found that I'd turned into Oprah Winfrey, then maybe I could think of myself as a success. But probably not.