What's the first thing you do after you find out you got that big promotion you literally spent years working toward?
Turn off your phone, rent out a motel room as your new permanent residence, change your name to Ms. Petunia Plum (yes, this may also include buying a new wardrobe of women's clothes for all the guys out there), and never mention that promotion again.
If you still have your job after all that, you're doing it right.
It's similar to what previous generations might recognize as survivor's guilt, but instead of feeling ashamed of our inability to control our own fates and the fates of those around us, success guilt is the shame associated with having mastered fate and succeeded at achieving a goal.
Freud speculated that our inability to recognize our own success stems from our inability to come to terms with the fulfillment of our fantasies.
In adulthood, achieving a long-awaited goal that we never considered possible while still under our parents' care leads to guilt over a supposed betrayal of them.
Although Freudian theory has been ditched in favor of modern day "daddy issues," it's hard not to admit that there's something to be said for our inability to take credit for our accomplishments, even when the pressure to be successful in today's world is at its height.
When we succeed, it's luck; yet when we fail, it's our fault entirely. Degrading ourselves has become the social norm -- so much so that simply expressing our pride has turned us all into "show offs," while humbling ourselves in the presence of others is the latest social art.
Our successes have become offensive and our failures have become brag-worthy, and while there once was a time that welcomed success as a result of hard work and regarded failure as an unlucky draw, we're currently left to cope with an inverted spectrum of guilt.
The thing is, there's no point in being successful if that success can't bring you a euphoric cocktail of pride and joy, so instead of drowning your hard-earnings in a vat of cheap beer, we challenge you to splurge on the good stuff. When it comes to poppin' bottles of champagne, here's why your success is worth it:
Success isn't just luck; it's hard work.
Unless you're a Hilton sister or somehow distantly related to the Kardashians, you most likely didn't just happen into your awesome new job.
While awards are given out occasionally for taking the longest nap or eating the most jars of Nutella, even those things take some determination, and you've probably exceeded most people's efforts in order to get the recognition you deserve.
Yup, you hear that? You deserve that recognition. Luck rarely ever deserves more than a passing "OMG" or "WTF"; whereas, hard work tends to garner more substantial and detailed reactions.
Not just anybody can do what you do.
A lot of the time, we find ourselves excusing our success by saying, "Oh, well anybody could have done it." Please, enlighten me: Did anybody else get that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to intern with that huge company in New York? Did anybody else get work published by a big-name firm recently? I didn't think so.
We tend to think that if we can do something, someone else out there is probably doing it 10 times better, so why bother patting ourselves on the back for our mediocre efforts?
This is where you're wrong. Yes, the population is made up of about 1 percent high-rollers, but the other 99 percent is in the same boat as you, just trying to make it into the ranks of the Facebook creators, super model moguls and "Turn Down For What" millionaires.
If you want to have even more fun crunching numbers and making up vague statistics, think about it: You're even more elite than the 1 percent because you're the .00000001 percent who succeeded at a goal that's unique to you and to your own skills.
There's no need to go all Occupy Wall Street on us, but you get the point.
Success makes the world go 'round.
Imagine if the inventor of the toilet (*giggle* Thomas Crapper *giggle*) hadn't succeeded? To be honest, he was probably too busy celebrating the fact that he didn't have to go find a new hole to build the outhouse over every month or so to realize how much he improved human livelihood.
Whether your success is something universally beneficial or a personal triumph, without new inventions and world leaders, or weight loss and five-year anniversaries, our society wouldn't have evolved much past the Flintstones era and probably wouldn't have lasted much longer as a living, breathing race. What's left to live for if you can't strive for success?
Definitely not the daily joy of taking a trip to the crapper, if that's where you thought this was going.
Haters gonna hate.
This might actually be the only reason necessary never to apologize for your success.
If you hide your success, people will think you're lazy, and if you flaunt it, people will think you're conceited. Are you either of those things?
Probably not, yet people will always try to find a reason to bring you down. Why is that? They're probably trying to cover up their own laziness or find an outlet to express just how not-conceited-but-actually-really-full-of-themselves they are.
If you can recognize that there are going to be refrigerators stocked with haterade everywhere you go and choose to sip on some Sunny-D instead, accepting your own success without having to ask the waitress to substitute some fries for that side of guilt will come a lot easier and leave you with a lot more time to analyze your far more pressing daddy issues...
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