Celebrating Success

Celebrating Success

Against the odds

As our nation of soon to be adults process their A level results, it’s worth remembering that they’ve had no easy feat. The past two years have brought about a pandemic, more war, political unravelling’s and climate disasters like no other time in history. Not only to be a youngster, but to be living in this world at all, it’s a scary time and quite frankly, overwhelming. I often find myself feeling exhausted just reading the news; it’s a never-ending cycle of problems, from financial hardships, droughts, corruption and terror. 83% of young people with mental health needs agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. As a young adult developing a self-awareness of themselves, and of the world around them, it must be intimidating if not terrifying to wait for results that could change the course of their life.

Expectation vs Reality

Something I’ve noticed that comes with age, is an inbuilt need to dampen any noise around me about my successes. This could be an exam result, learning a new skill or achieving a personal best; is it just me, or have we taught ourselves that our successes are never good enough? Where did we learn that our achievements are not worthy of celebrating? Perhaps it’s a cultural trait of the British to be rather modest and downplay our reaction to personal victories. I was lucky enough to not be distracted by the internet and social media when taking my A levels. My self-worth wasn’t dependent on what the internet said, all I had was expectations I set for myself, and those of my family or teachers. There was no pressure to keep up an appearance online, of having it all together as a young adult (let’s face it, none of us have it together even when we’re in our later years). So, my question is, what must it be like, to be waiting for A level results in 2022?

Do we set the bar too high?

I think it’s adamant that in today’s world we’re taking on more and more, trying to juggle more than we’ve ever had to, with less time, less money but seemingly more resources than before. Amid life’s chaos, we’re trying to achieve the impossible, and we’re being fooled by the internet into believing it’s doable. All while looking totally flawless, might I add. We’ve learnt to set expectations for success, and to then measure our success by what the internet thinks. We’ve allowed social media to capitalise on our self-worth, to pay us emotionally in ‘likes’, and to strive for followers. Have we taken the time to explain to our children, that this isn’t what success looks like? Success is not measured by how many people retweet your tweet, how many people share your story, how many leave a comment on your post. The lesson to learn here is that success is for yourself, not for others.

It’s the little things

So what does success mean? If we removed the internet entirely, perhaps our ideology of success would look very different. We might be more accepting of failure and accept that we are all on our own path to success. Success might look like a mother trying a new recipe and all the kids love it. It could be a father getting out of bed for the first time in weeks due to depression. Success could be a child writing their name for the first time. Or it might just be that they took their exams and did their best. Now that I’ve had my rant, let’s take a more positive note. Let’s focus on the things we can celebrate, because we deserve to. This results day, be mindful of the pressures that the world throws onto the shoulders of young minds, without us adding to it. Tell them you’re proud, make a song and dance of their achievements, make them know their successes are worthy of celebration. If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health, we recommend contacting YoungMinds – a mental health charity for children and young adults.

Stuck for celebration inspiration?

If you’re stuck for ideas on how to celebrate, we’ve compiled a shortlist:
1. Send them a surprise bouquet to congratulate them! Flowers are the perfect gift to mark the moment.2. Write them a letter, outlining why you’re proud of their achievements

3. Find a personalised gift with the date they succeeded; little reminders can go a long way when you’re facing new challenges. Looking back on past successes can be a big boost.

4. Take photos and frame them, give them as a gift so they’ll remember to be proud.

5. Take time out to stop, slow down, and enjoy their moment of success. Taking time to celebrate with loved ones creates memories that will last forever.