Successism: Success Animosity
As I excitedly count down the days until I receive my bachelor’s degree I have noticed that some of my friends around me look at me differently than before. This has taken me totally by surprise. These friends are not graduating right now or transitioning into the next phase of life as I am, which causes some resentment. From my experience, the times that I am successful, or accomplish my goals are the times that those select few look down upon those successes, which now includes graduating. Their behaviors consist of rude and hateful gestures, looks, or speech when the topic is brought up. This is what I call “ successism,” or prejudice or animosity against those who succeed and accomplish goals different than one’s own.
I know that being different is challenging and always advocated for, but many times I have never thought of success as being “different.” Personal success may not be reached due to social norms that are around us all. As a social worker, I have noticed that many of my clients have to deal with “ successism v“ within their social community. Change for the better is something that is a difficult task for some, because people around them feel threatened, and if a positive change occurs their social life may suffer. Sadly I have found out that people prefer to put someone down rather than to rejoice in their success.
This has caused me to wake up each morning with a new attitude and a new outlook. I am determined to rejoice in other’s successes and encourage others to as well. I have also felt the jealous feelings while hearing the accomplishments of others, but my experience will be used to turn those feelings into happiness. As a social worker, I am also determined to encourage my clients to confront these personal feelings and the feelings that are reciprocated to them during times of success. I believe that success is something we should all strive for, even if others find our success intimidating. One is not different because one succeeds at something that has never been done within a family, friendship, or community. They are merely the originator or discoverer of a new part of life, and I will rejoice in all successes in the lives around me while encouraging others to as well.
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