Written by Jeanne Penelope
I have a friend who’s working in a very toxic environment and, no doubt has long been burnt out. A few days ago, my friend posted this on their Instagram story:
“…long paragraph about taking care of yourself, remember: your value is not based on your accomplishments.”
Reading that made my blood boil. Just because you’re tired or defeated or sad doesn’t mean you should allow misguided reasoning and preposterous logic to influence your philosophy. Your value is an accumulation of your accomplishments.
What is an accomplishment exactly?
Stereotypical ideas of accomplishments are usually life achievements that involve famous names, high-tier brands, big shiny things, or stupid amounts of money. Do not let society define what “accomplishments” mean to you.
Shift your perception, redefine your philosophy.
What accomplishment meant to me.
An accomplishment for me a few years ago would be any of these things: buying my own car, getting myself an Apple watch, becoming a boss at work, traveling overseas for professional work.
Last year, I quit my job with no back-up plans. That opportunity gave me lots of time to spend with myself and ponder on what life meant for me. What kind of things bore significance to my life, and what my overall purpose was.
Reflecting on my perception of accomplishment.
I thought about buying my own car, do I need it? There is too much traffic in the city where I live, and parking can be expensive or tricky to find. On top of that, we have a family driver by day, so no, I do not need it.
I thought about becoming a boss at work. I have put in a lot of time and effort at work and was able to lead a team of 8 employees, travel overseas, accomplish countless processes, etc. But after all that, I was growing sadder every month and year I spent in that company.
After some reflection, what I realized were, the ones I have achieved were things that didn’t make me happy, while the ones I haven’t attained yet are things that I don’t need and won’t add meaning to my life.
What accomplishments mean to me now.
Previously, I was looking at things from a distorted perspective, a perspective dictated by society, and one that wasn’t mine. Accomplishments, for me now, are things that provide meaning to my life and experiences that add value to me as an individual.
A concrete example of an accomplishment for me now is waking up and starting my day like everyone else, despite having fallen into depression for a week straight. So if I accomplish not going out and getting through the day despite the troubling thoughts, what value does that give me? It means I have determination, and mental and emotional strength. Now, I can choose to dwell in my shortcomings during my depressive state and wallow about them, or I can choose to celebrate my strengths once I begin getting back up.
What accomplishments should mean to you.
Accomplishments aren’t everything, but they do tell a story. They are indicators of our growth, and don’t have to be material things or something related to your work and professional life. They can be as simple as learning to control your emotions during difficult situations, like holding back on hurtful words when you’re in a heated argument with a loved one.
Accomplishments are data that indicate where we are now, how much we’ve improved, and how much more work is needed to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. So, what does an accomplishment mean to you? And how do you let your perspective affect your sense of value?
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