Success, desire, and shame

Continuing on from yesterday...click here to get caught up.

 

I would hazard a guess that most of us reading this recognize life is about much more than doing well financially and gaining prestige.  Yet, I would also hazard a guess that each of us lives with some anxiety about how well we do financially in relation to our peers and fear we do not receive the recognition we deserve.  Cognitively, we understand our culture's definition of success does not lead us where we want to go.  It leads only to an endless cycle of competition and anxiety.  No matter how well you do, there is always someone out there who is better at your "thing," who has more wealth, who has more prestige.  We recognize, intellectually, that the only ends of this pursuit are disappointment, shame, regret, and such things.

 

Emotionally, I'm not so sure.  The "heart space" does not easily conform to what we "know" because our deepest desires, too heavily ingrained to be swayed by thoughts alone, push us towards wealth and prestige in spite of our mental reminders to choose a more nuanced or noble goal.  When we live in tension between what we "know" and what we "desire" then we're stuck with the resulting shame of believing we aren't living how we should be. 

 

And so, we have lingering questions. 

 

What vision of success fosters hope, joy, and meaning, rather than anxiety and competition?

 

How might we internalize such a vision so we do not live in a perpetual state of shame over the fact that we do not desire what we should desire?