We Should Respect Those Who Are Unsuccessful

It’s hard to forget about success because we are surrounded by messages about achieving it. In our culture, success is linked to specific ideas: being rich, being in a relationship, looking fit, traveling, and so on.

But the downside of this image of success is that we brand people as “losers” and imagine that they didn’t make it because there is something wrong with them. But people who fail to succeed are not necessarily less intelligent than those who do. Understanding this can bring unexpected benefits for our own sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Not everyone will be successful, even if they do everything right and work hard. This is an idea that can be hard to accept, because it might make us worry about whether we will actually succeed. It can be tempting to then try and find flaws within the people we consider losers. But this can make us act in toxic ways not just toward other people. It can also make us blame ourselves.

If we can’t be successful as the ads and social media show us to be, it makes us feel there’s something wrong with us. We are the losers and we are the stupid ones. But this is not true.

Everybody gets to define what success looks like for them. Some people get the fancy travel destinations, while others prioritize a peaceful life. This doesn’t make one group better or worse than the other. As long as we feel good about our lives, we can be comfortable. And if we don’t, we get to decide how to change them, even if they appear to be successful to other people.

Those who seem to be losers by our standards might be doing just fine, or they might not. But focusing on finding flaws in others also teaches us to be less compassionate with ourselves. We become caught up in a narrow idea of what success is and that people are flawed for not reaching it.

Being more open-minded can encourage us to build our own definition of success and let go of the feelings of guilt and shame that keeps us trapped in a road that might not fit us.

Success is difficult to reach and not always because of something we are doing wrong. Sometimes, it’s just like that. If we allow ourselves to make mistakes and find better paths to success, according to our own definition, we are much more likely to be happy. It beats trying to get things society tells us to want and hate on ourselves and others for failing to reach something we might not even want or need.