Redefining Success

Yesterday, my little cousin called me. She’s a senior in high school preparing for college and she desperately asked me how I deal with stress. Says she has no energy to do much, isn’t motivated like she normally is. And it broke my heart. I told her that those are signs of depletion. She’s giving too much to everything besides her present self. Her job, extra curriculars, applications, worries for the future, parental expectations. Everything is for others and for future her. So she’s doing nothing to fulfill the soul that is in the present. Yes, our future is important. I commend her for her dedication and her determination. But it’s sad how our society encourages such a future focus. A future that we can never guarantee, that no matter how hard we try, we never have absolute control of. Our society fosters a forgetting of the present in favor of external expectations and it’s filtering into younger and younger kids. I’ve met students in 6th grade who are studying until midnight to get into the best middle school.. I mean what?! Since when did school become such a competition instead of a basic right?
I told her to get outside. Find the things that take her mind off the future, if only for the moment. If we can encourage kids again to live for the moment, to find wonder in the small things, to get outside, to be a kid like they’re allowed to be, maybe we can have a better world. We can teach kids to be kind to themselves over anything. Not selfish, but kind, self aware, self loving. Know how to love themselves so they know how others should treat them and how they should love others. Let’s bring our kids back to the present, to the little things that are the big things. Let’s teach them to not let life pass them by. That a better present is a better future. Too much stress can make us lose our heart. Too much focus on material success, monetary success reaps a society that’s riddled with anxiety, ego, stress, things that pull us away from our kindness, compassion, empathy. Let’s redefine success. Take kids outside. Show them connection. Show them how a smile changes a day. how to help an animal that can’t speak for itself. Let’s define success as a full heart.IMG_6934.JPG

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