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  1. #1
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    Default Should I be ashamed of my lack of success?

    I have had this constant internal conflict throughout my whole adult life that told me to settle down and do the feminine thing and don't worry about having a big hot shot job, just cultivate the feminine motherly side of myself. I still wanted success, but like I said I guess I wanted it in my own way in time, but I look around and see all of these people who are outshining me with flashy jobs and having already graduated, which I am 29 and I have a year to go. I don't know what to think. Have I been living my life all wrong? Of course I would have graduated by now, if I put away my girly thoughts and had more time, considering I was in the Army and had a child. I am just beating myself up left and right now thinking maybe my priorities are all wrong. I remember learning about when I was 25 about the humanist theory and something along the lines of self-actualization and being happiest when you do what makes you happy, but maybe that theory has allowed me to throw my life away. I don't know. But mostly I just want to move on with my life and become successful, but I feel like I have wasted so much that maybe I don't even deserve to. Any thoughts on this?

    I especially have this need to be desirable to the opposite sex, and I worry that this keeps me from that. Then what makes it worse, I think that's okay, everyone is different and has different talents. I see uneducated artist and other cool people, but being a talented lover or wife or mother doesn't stand out though, which is my specialty. I just worry no matter what I do to my appearance, I blend into the crowd and appear like a rusty loser. It doesn't help that these men I dedicated myself to emotionally, threw me in the trash, which pulled me down emotionally so bad, that that also slowed me from accomplishing my goals. I don't know. I worry that even if I graduated today, that somewhere this is on some shameful record that I forever failed, so why even try.

  2. #2
    Temporal Mechanic. Lexicon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbyagain View Post
    I have had this constant internal conflict throughout my whole adult life that told me to settle down and do the feminine thing and don't worry about having a big hot shot job, just cultivate the feminine motherly side of myself. I still wanted success, but like I said I guess I wanted it in my own way in time, but I look around and see all of these people who are outshining me with flashy jobs and having already graduated, which I am 29 and I have a year to go. I don't know what to think. Have I been living my life all wrong? Of course I would have graduated by now, if I put away my girly thoughts and had more time, considering I was in the Army and had a child. I am just beating myself up left and right now thinking maybe my priorities are all wrong. I remember learning about when I was 25 about the humanist theory and something along the lines of self-actualization and being happiest when you do what makes you happy, but maybe that theory has allowed me to throw my life away. I don't know. But mostly I just want to move on with my life and become successful, but I feel like I have wasted so much that maybe I don't even deserve to. Any thoughts on this?

    I especially have this need to be desirable to the opposite sex, and I worry that this keeps me from that. Then what makes it worse, I think that's okay, everyone is different and has different talents. I see uneducated artist and other cool people, but being a talented lover or wife or mother doesn't stand out though, which is my specialty. I just worry no matter what I do to my appearance, I blend into the crowd and appear like a rusty loser. It doesn't help that these men I dedicated myself to emotionally, threw me in the trash, which pulled me down emotionally so bad, that that also slowed me from accomplishing my goals. I don't know. I worry that even if I graduated today, that somewhere this is on some shameful record that I forever failed, so why even try.
    Personal fulfillment = true success. So fuck what other people are doing and how old they are. Don't compare ages with perceived levels of success.. that cliche adage "life's not a race," comes to mind. I mean, if it were.. are you that adamant about rushing to the finish line, regardless of what paths you'd intrinsically like to take? It's your life, no one else's. When that time is gone, so are you. The finish line is death, and there's no universal manual laying around on how to get there. The time in between is yours. It's only wasted if you don't find ways to value where you've been, who you are, what you've gone through and what you're driven to do. Don't compare, and don't over-analyze- you won't find any ultimate conclusions but your own projected fears. The meaning is in the doing. Just live.

    Or, at least, that's what I [try to] do. But, whatever works for you.
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  3. #3
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik's Avatar
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    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
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  4. #4
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Your question is flawed in that it assumes lack of success.

    Thank you for your service to what I'll assume is our country (US). You served in the military in a difficult time, and you're a mother, and you claim to have a lack of success? I apologize if I'm being too harsh and jumping to conclusions, but I see some serious negative self-deception going on here.

    Success is relative to who you're comparing yourself to. Do you want to be tied down to a career where you have to work 40 or more hours a week and barely have time and energy to do what you really want to do in life? Or, maybe there's a career which is what you really want to do in life, and spending time doing it for more than 40 hours would be enjoyable? It sounds like your definition of success up to this point has been internal, but now that definition is being challenged by external factors. You wouldn't criticize others so harshly, so why do you criticize yourself? Comparisons are one source of *potentially* objective feedback, but only if the thing being compared is relevant to you. Keep the criticism of yourself constructive, meaning use it to better yourself rather than tear yourself down.

    It sounds like maybe you've taken on the perspective of a victim regarding your relationships. You didn't get thrown away. The relationship didn't work out, and unfortunately, that happens to us all sometimes. Getting rid of a relationship which is bringing you down or not going anywhere is a good thing. Learning from mistakes helps ensure future success. Also, maybe you're forming relationships with men who are emotionally abusive or who don't allow you to be independent? If so, there are ways to more effectively identify people who might be like this. One good start is to proceed slowly and cautiously before you invest too much emotionally.

    I'd say that it seems like you're doing quite well in life, but your unhealthy relationships are dragging you down emotionally and mentally. And then, you start to perceive yourself as a failure. Maybe you've even started to believe it. Then, in both your explicit communication and your nonverbal communication, you present yourself as an undesirable loser. People believe what you say about yourself because you're the most reliable source.

    Stop deceiving yourself that you're a "rusty loser" by identifying any negative thought you have about yourself, and turn it around into either more accurate constructive criticism or a just plain inaccurate thought. We change ourselves and our life one thought at a time.

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexicon View Post
    Personal fulfillment = true success. So fuck what other people are doing and how old they are. Don't compare ages with perceived levels of success.. that cliche adage "life's not a race," comes to mind. I mean, if it were.. are you that adamant about rushing to the finish line, regardless of what paths you'd intrinsically like to take? It's your life, no one else's. When that time is gone, so are you. The finish line is death, and there's no universal manual laying around on how to get there. The time in between is yours. It's only wasted if you don't find ways to value where you've been, who you are, what you've gone through and what you're driven to do. Don't compare, and don't over-analyze- you won't find any ultimate conclusions but your own projected fears. The meaning is in the doing. Just live.

    Or, at least, that's what I [try to] do. But, whatever works for you.
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  6. #6

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    I will say do not compare it with other success this will demotivate you badly.

  7. #7
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    First of all

    No, you are not a failure! You're not even close to being a failure! Sometimes it is difficult judge our own success or failure, but I can assure you that your situation is nowhere as bad as you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbyagain View Post
    I especially have this need to be desirable to the opposite sex, and I worry that this keeps me from that. Then what makes it worse, I think that's okay, everyone is different and has different talents. I see uneducated artist and other cool people, but being a talented lover or wife or mother doesn't stand out though, which is my specialty. I just worry no matter what I do to my appearance, I blend into the crowd and appear like a rusty loser. It doesn't help that these men I dedicated myself to emotionally, threw me in the trash, which pulled me down emotionally so bad, that that also slowed me from accomplishing my goals. I don't know. I worry that even if I graduated today, that somewhere this is on some shameful record that I forever failed, so why even try.
    I think this is worth addressing. I think you really need to be happy with who you are before you can know what you really want to do with your life. If you still attach your self-worth with external factors, like "what a successful job should look like", or "how men respond to you", etc., you will be susceptible to rejection and disapproval, which everyone has to face at some point in their lives. We are human and we all see approval and acceptance to some degree. It is important that we realize this and try not to let it affect us so much that we lose sight of who we really are.
    4w5 sp/sx EII

  8. #8
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbyagain View Post
    I have had this constant internal conflict throughout my whole adult life that told me to settle down and do the feminine thing and don't worry about having a big hot shot job, just cultivate the feminine motherly side of myself. I still wanted success, but like I said I guess I wanted it in my own way in time, but I look around and see all of these people who are outshining me with flashy jobs and having already graduated, which I am 29 and I have a year to go. I don't know what to think. Have I been living my life all wrong? Of course I would have graduated by now, if I put away my girly thoughts and had more time, considering I was in the Army and had a child. I am just beating myself up left and right now thinking maybe my priorities are all wrong. I remember learning about when I was 25 about the humanist theory and something along the lines of self-actualization and being happiest when you do what makes you happy, but maybe that theory has allowed me to throw my life away. I don't know. But mostly I just want to move on with my life and become successful, but I feel like I have wasted so much that maybe I don't even deserve to. Any thoughts on this?

    I especially have this need to be desirable to the opposite sex, and I worry that this keeps me from that. Then what makes it worse, I think that's okay, everyone is different and has different talents. I see uneducated artist and other cool people, but being a talented lover or wife or mother doesn't stand out though, which is my specialty. I just worry no matter what I do to my appearance, I blend into the crowd and appear like a rusty loser. It doesn't help that these men I dedicated myself to emotionally, threw me in the trash, which pulled me down emotionally so bad, that that also slowed me from accomplishing my goals. I don't know. I worry that even if I graduated today, that somewhere this is on some shameful record that I forever failed, so why even try.
    Definitely do not feel like a failure, and you have a lot of life ahead of you. I think I went through a similar progression years ago and became happiest when I let go of all external models of success.

    Being in the arts I went to school forever only to find there was almost no work, so I spent years as a "working mom" , except I didn't have work, or children. The external pressure I felt was to teach college/university. What I do now some would not consider successful, but I'm helping other people and teach music lessons, but it is not stressful and I love the work. I found that success is like money - it is addictive and there is never enough. The more a person gets, the more they are surrounded by people who expect them to have more. I was amazed to observe how many successful people feel like they haven't done enough.

    I would recommend spending quality time for yourself to really reflect on who you are and what makes you happy. This may involve writing down absolutely anything that makes you happy whether it is the smell of lilacs or volunteering at a hospital. Let your intuition and feeling guide you. Look away from outside expectation and inward to your core. Some quiet meditation just sitting and "being", or a bubble bath with candles, or some other activity to just quiet your soul could help you see your path.

    I can also understand that need for intimate connection and how painful it feels to be rejected. People always say that you need to be secure in yourself first, etc. That is a difficult question and it can be hard to know where to start. It has always helped me when I felt alone and rejected to remember just how many people there are in the world - more than my mind can comprehend. Because of this, it is never a question about if there is someone you can connect with deeply, but rather, how could you filter out the rest to find the person. Perhaps you can focus on your search and even put energy into it while you show yourself kindness and reflect on your core of happiness. Search also for that path.

    Not sure if you wanted something like suggestions, but if not, at least know there are other people out there who care about anyone trying to find their path.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #9
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    @Newbyagain: No, you should be ashamed of my lack of success.

  10. #10
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    I don't think anyone should put all of their stock in a relationship. It is hard if you are of that mindset. But I think you should listen to the discomfort you have and that you felt thrown away. There is a way to give to the right person in a relationship without losing yourself. But you need to have good boundaries. I also think making comparisons is a sure-fire way to unhappiness. People tend to cherry-pick only the best, surface aspects of someone's life without knowing everything. You def have time to turn things around for yourself - though I think true contentment is more about finding things you like about yourself that come from within, than external validation. Also, rebuilding takes a step at a time. If you happen to have perfectionistic tendencies, it can be hard to accept things that fall short in your mind. Why not reframe your experiences as a learning phase you had to go through to get to where you really want to be? Everything I've written is advice I've given myself at some point and I'm in a very good place now.

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