‘I found myself staring at a friend of mine, same age, same amount of kids, in a bikini and thought: I need to get in that kid of shape before summer.’: Mom challenges true meaning of success

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0″It started with a social media post.

I found myself staring at a friend of mine, same age, the same amount of kids, in a bikini and I thought: I need to get in that kind of shape before summer.

Later, I caught myself staring at our dated kitchen and thought: we can’t have people over until this gets renovated.

The next day, I found myself watching a mom at school parent differently than I do and I thought: she’s doing a better job than me.

I used to think successful people were the ones with the high-profile careers, the most put-together houses, and children, the ones who look good from the outside.

I thought that was success.

But after going through many unexpected events, ones of life and death, ones that required unlearning and re-learning, I see success differently now.

I think the most successful among us are the ones who live in freedom.

It’s those who invite us into their messy houses.

It’s those who have rejected society’s body ideals.

It’s those who are truly themselves, in every situation, in every area of their lives no matter the cost.

It’s those who follow the whispers in their soul, even when they lead to the kind of work most will never see and some may never value.

It’s those who have thrown away the measuring stick of comparison.

I believe that.

But sometimes I don’t live like it.

Sometimes, I slip.

But I don’t want to forget the unexpected lessons.

I don’t want to go back to pretending.

I don’t want to go back to striving for the accolades of this world.

I want real.

I want messy.

I want to be still.

I want to strive but only towards the things that matter.

I want to live into the entirety of myself, the one my creator dreamed up long ago.

I want to be successful.

This means…I want to be free.”

mom and son playing in the water
Courtesy of Jillian Benfield

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jillian Benfield. Get her free e-book here. You can find her writing at JillianBenfield.comFacebookand InstagramSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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