expectations and value systems
Very interesting topic and quite a common problem as well i believe. I will share with you few things in hope it is beneficial :).
Haven't felt depression in years, sadness very rarely and short termed. I believe sadness comes from our inability to accept a certain situation, our resistence to it. If there is a situation we don't like we have only two choices: Accept it as it is or change it or at least try to change it. In both situations we shouldn't be depressed. If de did all in our power and failed to change it, we should be satisfied with ourselves and accept the outcome, since there is no alternative. However i do believe once sadness comes we should not try to supress it, let it run its course because anything else would be commiting violence upon our own nature and sadness would still manifest itself somehow.
Good at school, always calm and good kid, inventive, reading since i was 5, playing chess since my 6th year...i can't really tell how many times i heard my family members say this dreadful phrase to their children: "just take Jasen's example, can't you be like him".
Than i was 27, married, hated my job, didn't love my wife, i was miserable and had a lot of health issues. I started wondering: "how did i end up right here at this moment in life?" I knew i totally went off my path but didn't yet realise how or where is my path.
After realising the community in which i grew up actually applied huge subconscious pressure on me through their projections of myself, through their expectations especially, and that so many of my life's actions were led by those thoughts in my head which were not really my thoughts. (i actually got married because everyone was telling me it's the right time and after some time it made sense...how crazy!).
My next step was selfexploration, i had to get to know myself. I stayed at home reading books for months, Carlos Castaneda's books were an amazing discovery at that time. I went into nature for periods of isolation where i spent my time in silence and thought, and finally after some time i started meditating.
As far as success is concerned i agree with Alberto. Should we measure ourselves in comparison to others or by finding our own system of values and definition of success? For example i have 0 debt, built my own house by the age of 28, a good car and pretty much anything i need materially now...most of my friends think i am succesful. I would however consider myself succesful if i could succeed in creating a well balanced family full of love and respect, or if i could be nothing but a positive and inspiring experience for anyone who meets me. Or if i could attain permanent state of meditation for example. Also i have been with many women, and ofcourse friends i went out with always considered me lucky or succesful with women. Well again my definition of success is very different: i would have preferred to stay with the first one i loved...or with any i loved. Now, in retrospective i rather think i failed miserably with some of those women and brought really bad kharma on me through those "successes" :).