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Success Shaming – What’s the deal?

Hands up, ladies, if you’ve never Success Shamed somebody. Yep, didn’t think so. Every single one of us in one way or another is guilty. You got the job? Well done, you. You’re telling everyone. You’re about to burst with excitement and this could be your dream job and you’re about to let everyone know about it and they had better be happy for you. You ring your mum, your nan, your best friend, your best friend’s mum, anyone who you think might give you some reaction as to your pure brilliance. That, my friend, is Success Shaming, and it’s the exact thing that you would never want to happen to you.

The fact is, Success Shaming is something that make us all feel like utter shit. The moment your friend, the same age with the same intelligence, happens to move slightly ahead of you in whatever field she is in, that’s the moment we start to wonder what went wrong with our lives. Suddenly, everything you achieved, whether it be landmark or simply one of the little things (learning how to wash silks without going to the dry cleaners was mine) seems like it just isn’t good enough. No matter how happy you were with your career goals or your personal life, it all seems miniscule in comparison.

In the twenty-first century, successful women are everywhere. Think about the amount of campaigners you see interviewed in glossy magazines, the novelists that beat you to writing the book that you were supposed to, the actress (five years younger) who’s already a multi-millionaire. Success can’t be avoided; it’s constantly there rubbing your face in the fact that you are twenty two years old, you’re still in your overdraft and you’re still renting a flat for much more money than it’s worth. Financial stability? Nope. Dream career? Nope. Satisfactory love life? Definitely not. All these women are Success Shaming you, my friend, but you should not let them.

So what if you’re twenty two? So what if you technically owe Natwest £750? You’re still so young. The same goes for someone who is thirty two, forty two, even fifty two. You have your goals in mind, and you know how you want to achieve them. You have a plan, and although you haven’t put it into action yet, it’ll happen. I know it and you know it. These women are talented, but so are you. You just haven’t found the right way to apply it yet.

Because success seems to be coming to us at a younger and younger age, we feel like we need to have achieved something spectacular by the time we’re legally able to drink. Congrats! You can no longer get away with the ‘young adult’ thing but you can feel sorry for yourself that you didn’t think of Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg. Success does not come for you if you wait around wondering when. It comes when you start on a path towards your goal. It’s all relative. You might not have got your dream career going quite yet, but you’re starting off. I have news for you, girls: we’ll be working until we’re 70, we’ve got time.

In the meantime, celebrate the little things. Baby steps. You’re in no rush to get there just yet, and by the time you do, you know that it’ll be warranted, and it’ll be for the right reasons. Don’t feel like you have to jump for an opportunity just to get even. Do what’s right for you, and no matter what, don’t ever compare yourself. But most importantly of all, whether you like it or not, congratulate those women who achieve. Being bitter won’t ever get you a Christmas card.


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