Survival is for suckers – it’s time to thrive

how to thrive
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Have you ever asked someone how they’re doing and they say, “oh, I’m surviving”?  They may not be battling cancer or a financial meltdown, but just the very existence of their day-to-day is so boring and draining that they can’t come up with a better term than “barely functioning”.

It’s also something I hear from people who are in survival mode. Between work, family, lack of sleep and lack of life, they literally are just hanging on.

thrive in life

Here’s the problem with that M.O. It’s never typically a rough period that goes on for a few weeks because of a brutal project at work or a sick kid. It’s the kind of malaise that can linger for YEARS and end up becoming a life theme.

That’s a problem.

If this sounds like you, I don’t mean to add to your mounting problems by calling you out on your apathetic coping strategy. I’m also not suggesting that your life has to be puppies and rainbows 24/7. However, I am pointing out that if this sounds like you and you didn’t even notice it until this very moment, then there’s something you can do to change the trajectory to something a little more well, life affirming.

  • Address what’s sucking your soul. That could be your job, your negative Nelly friend or even your kids who are driving you nuts. I’m not suggesting you have to ditch your job or the people closest to you, but by knowing what’s draining your battery, you can make conscious choices to fix it.
  • Make an effort to change something. That could mean a babysitter, a new job or heck, maybe even a divorce. I don’t suggest that big sweeping decisions should be made without a lot of reflection, but what I am saying is that the longer you ignore what drains you, the longer your life will be as gratifying as a C-span binge. Who wants to live like that?
  • Add little boosts of personal joy that make you feel good. Watch a comedy show, listen to your favorite tunes, put a saying or quote up on your wall that inspires you. Moments of joy are rarely something that’s overly orchestrated and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Sometimes we’re just so in the weeds of our own lives that we forget that this journey is supposed to feel good. Personally, as someone who’s generally overthinks everything, I often have to remind myself to lighten up.

how to have a happy life

I can share from experience that I’ve made some pretty difficult decisions to change things that were fundamentally dragging me down and keeping me in a perpetual state of survival mode. Relationships (including a marriage), behaviors, jobs and a poor health condition were all taking the life right out of me. I had to find strength to say no to them (over the course of many years) and looking back, even though it was often hard or devastating in the moment, I’m now thriving in areas of my life because of those decisions. My life isn’t perfect but I’m doing way more than just surviving it.

I recall an old boss making a comment that I seemed to have a charmed life. That comment stuck with me because it implied that I was lucky to have a good life. He was partially right. I do have a good life, but it’s not by luck. It’s by choice. Some of those decisions were really hard, but I knew I’d be better off if I made the change and in every situation, that was right.

Change might be the right thing for you, too. If you’re just surviving and it’s been that way for a while, it’s time to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Start small to build confidence. For most people, feeling better physically can go a long way, so if you’re currently not working out or feeding yourself well, start there. If it’s a financial suck, it’s time to start making some hard decisions that will help you get out of the hole that your’e in.

If you’re struggling with your decision to change, remember this…

It’s okay to be stuck. Just don’ t pretend that it’s not your choice to stay there.

It’s okay to be stuck. Just don’ t pretend that it’s not your choice to stay there. Click To Tweet


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  1. Ahhh, I needed to hear this. I think I’ve been “just getting by” for the last few months. I don’t feel particularly motivated or, dare I say, happy or content. I know it’s about building those little adventures into your daily life, as well as practicing awareness. We just have to put in the effort and can’t expect these things to fall into our lap by chance.

  2. Hey Ms PP! I’m sorry to hear you’re in a rut lately but glad the message struck a cord. It’s not uncommon for this to happen. I know from experience!! it’s also not a crime to be in survival mode here and there. It’s life. The key is to not let it become the theme for you life.

    Good luck!