To be successful or victorious— what does this mean to you?
If you asked me this question a few years ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated to dig deep within my ego and tell you a long list of superficial things that success entails.
I would have likely told you about having a great career or having a house that looks like it came out of a magazine. Perhaps, if you caught me in a moment where I was feeling compassionate I would have added in a point about raising a beautiful family.
Looking back, I suppose they are all good, common answers. But even when I would allow myself to go into dreamland and visualize all these wonderful things happening, I never felt truly complete.
It felt like there was a part of me that knew if I got all these things and more, I would never be truly satisfied.
As the years went on and I strived harder and harder to meet my own definition of success, why did I feel unhappier than before?
So the search began and I started dissecting all aspects of my life to find out what the missing element of true success was.
From spending hours contemplating the words from every self-help book I could find, to dedicating each yoga practice to non-judgment and clarity, I learned that winning at life doesn’t have much to do with anything external at all.
I couldn’t sit in silence with myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror or have a conversation with someone without criticizing myself. On the exterior, you would never know it, but I was feeding my ego rather than my soul.
I wanted a beautiful life, but I was battling myself on all grounds to allow it to happen. A beautiful life cannot happen if you don’t have self-love.
I started the journey of cultivating a kind relationship with myself.
I spent time looking in the mirror searching for compassionate words and thoughts. I forgave myself for the harsh judgment I had carried around for years. I realized that I would never talk to anyone else the way I had been talking to myself my entire life.
When I started practicing self-love, my whole world changed. I became accepting of my body, thoughts and all situations that presented themselves. I felt grounded and in control because I began to understand that life around me is always going to fluctuate, but I have everything I need inside of me to truly be happy.
I understood that with self-love, I have already won at life.
Instead of focusing on gaining something material in the future, I now focus on how I can be more loving towards myself in this very moment. This shift has pushed all the things that don’t bring me true happiness out of my life and has attracted only good:
I nourish my body with healthy food because I love myself.
I only surround myself with people that uplift and inspire me because I love myself.
I am much more kind to others because I love myself.
I don’t work solely for money, instead joy bares a greater importance because I love myself.
I always get enough sleep, exercise and have time for all the things I want to do because I love myself.
So I pass on this torch of knowledge—what does it mean to be successful or victorious? Is the answer fulfilling the ego or soul?
Can we be more kind to ourselves today?
Let’s take this gentle sign from the universe directing us to lead lives that exude self-love.
Once we embrace our existence with love, we have won at life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brenna Fischer / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo Credit: Juliana Coutinho at Flickr