Signs You Feel Guilty About Your Success

January 21, 2020  |  
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career success goals

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If you work really hard for what you earn in life, you might be cursed with winner’s guilt. And this will happen because if you are a hard worker, then you likely came up around other hard workers, and you know how much your peers are still struggling, still suffering, and still working themselves to the bone to have what you got. You know and love those people, so having what they want inevitably comes with mixed emotions. It’s only natural to feel some winners guilt when you really make it, and those that you love still haven’t.

Making it is a strange experience. When something really hits for you, and you start making money and earning attention at a level drastically higher than you ever have before, the entire thing can feel foreign. You want to pinch yourself because you believe you are dreaming. Your lifestyle and external surroundings change so much more rapidly than your inner feelings. It doesn’t quite add up. Meanwhile, the people you still very much emotionally relate to, are around you, working so hard. They are tired. They are losing hope. And you may struggle to enjoy your success because you have winner’s guilt.

It’s okay, and it won’t last forever. In fact, it’s more than okay—it’s perfectly normal. You know what the odds were that you got this: slim to none. You know because, for so many years, you were the one passed over. You know because you used to be in the trenches with the…hundreds?…thousands?…who wanted this, too. So you get what a big deal this is, and you get what everyone who got passed over for the opportunity feels like. You used to be them. So you still, in a way, question whether or not it should have been you, at all. It’s only normal that an emotional being would have odd feelings around sudden success. Here are signs that you have winner’s guilt.


You want to share too much

You have become so generous with your friends that it is almost uncomfortable. You are buying them gifts and treating them to experiences like dinners and trips that it almost feels inappropriate. But you feel bad keeping these resources to yourself so you are giving them away at a rapid rate.


It can feel weird for your friends

You have to understand that the friends who truly love you and don’t want to take advantage of you will feel uncomfortable receiving all of these gifts. Even though for you it is simple and you want them to enjoy these things because you feel they deserve them, for them it can feel a bit condescending. They probably just want the friendship to stay the way it has always been.


You aren’t making changes you can afford

Let’s say you can absolutely afford to hire a housekeeper or a dog walker now. In fact, you are paid so much hourly now that it would save you money to hire someone to do these things, so you could continue your work. But instead, you are still doing it all yourself, because you feel guilty hiring people.


Everybody loses this way

Look, there are dog walkers and housekeepers and personal assistants and personal chefs who need work. They need employment. If you make enough money such that you actually come out financially on top by not doing those tasks for yourself and spending that time working instead, while you pay someone else to do them for you, everybody wins.


You haven’t told anyone

You have actually had something really great happen to you, and you have not told anyone about it. Friends and family are calling you, confused and shocked because they found out about your success through the Internet, and not from you. You have just been silently sitting with the information.


They want to share in it

It is actually probably hurtful for the ones you love to learn about something big in your life from a stranger, or from an article, than from you. You may think you were being modest by not sharing this information, but that is not how it comes off to friends and family. If they hear about your success from someone else, they feel like you are just pushing them out of your life.


You are donating at a rapid rate

You are donating a lot of your money, quickly, and without much research into the organizations. You haven’t even really thought about how to organize your new income. You just feel bad holding onto it, and you want to give it away. So you’re giving into every solicitation for donation.


You can keep your money and donate more

Sit down with a financial advisor. The best move, if you want to take care of yourself and others, is to invest your money so that it can grow and you can donate even more. If you give a big chunk of money to an organization today you give them a fish. If you invest that money and continuously donate the interest it earns, you create a fishing rod.


You are reaching out to your competitors

More specifically, the ones who did not get what you have. You want to tell them that they were just as worthy, if not more worthy. You want to hire them or see if there is anyway that you can help them along. You are obsessing over the fact that they don’t have what you have, and what that means for their life.


If they got that close, they will be fine

There is enough opportunity to go around. If your competitors really were just inches away from getting what you got, they will find their way. Don’t worry. They may even lose out a couple more times before they win, but they are already in the group of contenders for success. Don’t worry about that.


You are obsessed with the world’s problems

You find yourself fixating more and more on the suffering in the world. You were always aware of it, but now you think about it all of the time. It seems that the second you try to enjoy some part of your new success, some image of world suffering floods your mind, and you feel terrible.


Remain positive so you can help

If what you would like to do with your new platform is stop some of the suffering in the world, then you need to remain positive. You cannot be crippled by depression. You don’t help the world’s problems by sitting around and just thinking about how terrible they are. You don’t save anyone from homelessness by refusing to enjoy your new nice home. You need to keep your spirits up and keep pushing your success forward so you can make some changes in the world.


You won’t let anyone celebrate you

Your romantic partner or your best friends would like to throw a party to celebrate your new success. But you will not let them. You don’t want to be the center of attention. You don’t want anyone to think that you think you deserve to be the center of attention. You see them getting frustrated because they want to do this for you.


This is their success, too

Remember that if someone really loves you, he feels that your success is also his success. He has been there for you emotionally supporting you the entire time, so this is also his success. If you have that great partner who has pushed you along, share this with him. This celebration doesn’t only belong to you. So let the people who love you throw a party for you. It is for them, too.

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