Maya Angelou once said:
The human instinct to survive is inherent and said to be our strongest drive. It keeps our heads above water and our eyes open. By natural definition, surviving is continuing on, reproducing and just existing. However, most often people consider themselves surviving when they are just barely getting by – when you get the money for the rent check the day it’s due, when you have enough food to sustain you, when you get a measly six hours of sleep. The concept of surviving has gone from one that meant so much more as a representation of our evolution to a concept that means just getting by.
And people are okay with it. People act, work and live, get by with the bare minimum and call it surviving. There are some people that even enjoy this precarious state of having just enough and barely making the deadlines. There is a thrill in surviving – but it can also be emotionally and mentally taxing.
If you are simply surviving, you are likely exhausted, unhappy, and not being your best self. You look at the world as if it is competing against you. It’s as if you are trying to beat the odds or race the clock. Excitement is good for the soul, but constant, underlying anxiety is not.
There is an alternative to this surviving, although it is easier said than done.
Thriving is the higher octave of surviving. It is the updated edition. Thriving is not just existing and getting by. Thriving is flourishing, growing, excelling in who you are and how you live. It is a mindset that allows for an infinite number of possibilities. Doors are open when you are thriving; and if they’re not, you have the ability to build a new one.
As beautiful as it is, thriving does not happen overnight. It is something you work at and develop over time and with practice. It doesn’t need to be some overarching goal. If you act in a way that promotes thriving on a daily basis, before you know it you will be there.
You must be proactive to thrive and create the conditions that allow you to do so – much like a gardener tends to the soil for the plants to grow. Thriving is cultivated on physical, emotional and mental planes. From your environment to your self-care (eating and sleeping), to your relationships and community, to your thoughts and spiritual practices – these are the elements of your thriving lifestyle. Embrace change and challenges, get spiritual help when needed and cultivate time for yourself. Emphasize positivity rather than negativity in your thoughts. Make your environment conducive to comfort and order. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Stay attuned to your feelings and desires. Work diligently, but reward yourself, too.
Remember that, though it may be a process, thriving is something you deserve. Are you thriving today?