For many of us, life feels like a total grind just to ‘survive’ each day. For others, life is an exciting and joyous adventure; an opportunity to grow and ‘thrive’ regardless of what each day brings. In this post, I’d like to outline what living in survival mode looks like, as opposed to what thriving looks like. That way you can get a better idea of where you stand when it comes to how you’re living your life. So, what does ‘surviving’ look and feel like? Let’s find out.
You’re likely ‘surviving’ if you often think about making some positive changes to your life, but never get past the contemplation stage. Alternatively, you may also be somewhat unaware of certain things that may detract from your overall health and well-being.
As a result, you may be thinking things like ‘I know I need to make some positive changes to my life but I just don’t know where to start,’ or ‘I don’t have the time/energy right now,’ or ‘I’ve tried everything to be healthier and happier but nothing works,’ or ‘it’s not my fault.’ Or, you may also be thinking things like ‘I just don’t care anymore’ or ‘why would I need to change? – I am fine just the way I am.’
You know you’re surviving if you are doing very few of the things to the best of your ability that are required to have balance. This includes: regular exercise, getting enough sleep, consistently preparing and eating healthy meals, having a regular meditation practice, putting yourself first, and so forth. As such, you may be feeling that you’re not in control of much in your life, like your health, your relationships, your career, your finances or anything else. So much so that it can feel like your drowning—in relationship woes, health crises, a job slump, money issues — sometimes overcome by multiple forces simultaneously. This leaves you feeling overwhelmed, stressed and even burned out.
You likely feel unmotivated and lack energy. You probably also feel as though you hardly have enough time to do all of the things required to just get through the day and survive, let alone having the time, energy and motivation required to look after yourself as you should. You also likely have low self-awareness and probably don’t love yourself as much as you should which affects your confidence. So, it is highly likely, that your mental health is not as good as it should be. This has a lot to do with the fact that you spend too much time in your own head, evident by the fact that your mind is always racing.
Obviously, the body follows the mind, and so chances are that your physical health and overall well-being, are not as good as they should be either. And if you’re like most people, this imbalance is reflected by carrying excess weight, but not always.
What about thriving… what does it look and feel like?
You know you’re ‘thriving’ when you are consistently doing all of the things required to achieve and sustain balance (exercise, sleep, meal prep, putting yourself first, etc). The result being great health, quality relationships with family and friends, an enjoyable career with great work-life balance and more.
You have a ‘holistic’ attitude and you may be thinking things like ‘my health comes first’, ‘life is amazing’ and ‘I can achieve and have anything I want.’
You have a high level of self-awareness, and feel empowered towards living a life in alignment with who you are and with purpose. Living each day from predominantly your heart instead of your head, you feel whole, in control, resilient and have great confidence. You have learnt to dis-identify with negative emotions and better self-regulate how you feel when life can get tough. You have little stress, or resistance in your life because you mostly live in the present moment, and as a result have a deep sense of peace in your life.
Whilst you still may have some work to do, you mostly love, trust and honour yourself without conditions and as a result, warrant the time, priority and energy to put your health and happiness first. You understand the importance of focusing on and achieving balance per se, as opposed to just having goals, which are really nothing more than a means to an end, such as losing weight. Instead of listening to outside influence, you listen to your intuition and give your body exactly what it needs to be healthy.
As a result, you have great mental health, you are in great physical shape, and have a high-level of fitness and energy. You feel both healthy and happy.
Where are you at?
And so, the question is, how are YOU living your life? Do you think you’re surviving or thriving? If you are thriving then congratulations! Your living life as it’s meant to be, so keep on doing what you’re doing!
But the reality is that most of us are actually surviving, not thriving. And so, if this is you, then I don’t want you to feel bad about it. In many ways, surviving is already a victory upon itself, especially when you consider the state of the world today, including the day-to-day challenges that are different and unique for all of us.
However, with that said, whilst it may be ok to be surviving in the short term, it’s definitely not ok in the long term. In-fact, it’s a soul-sucking, unfulfilling and a very depressing way to live your life. A life that you don’t want for yourself, or for those you love either.
Where to from here?
The reality is that transitioning from surviving to thriving is a far more challenging resolution than, say, joining a gym or taking a moment to meditate. Especially so when you’re stuck in the thick of it all, and you’re really not sure what to do to make your situation/life better.
But as difficult as it may be, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. You have to acknowledge that you don’t have to merely survive, instead you can thrive and have an abundant life, but you need to want to. I say this because many people I have coached have lived their whole lives in survival, and I’ve seen firsthand the trouble they have conceptualising any other way of living. It’s just not in their awareness.
And so, once you are aware that thriving does exist and that it is an achievable concept for you to attain, then the next and most difficult step, is to commit to thriving by leaving surviving behind.
How? By wanting better for yourself. By believing that your health and well-being are worth fighting for. And if you don’t want to do it for yourself, then you sure as hell better want to do it for your loved ones, because they deserve to have a great life too. And the only way you will create that for them and for yourself, is if you step up and refuse to merely accept surviving as ‘enough.’ Because unlike surviving, thriving is a choice. You either choose to stay where you are finding comfort in its familiar discomfort, or you choose to create a better life for yourself and your loved ones.
Assuming that you do want better for yourself, then the next step involves taking deliberate and consistent action towards your new life. This includes identifying and letting go of what isn’t serving your best life, and clearing the path – bad relationships, unhealthy lifestyle habits and everything else – it all has to go.
Each day is a new opportunity to create a better life for yourself. Making even the smallest of changes each day will lead to big improvements over the long term. Sure, you won’t have all of the answers – none of us do. But sometimes confidence is just believing that you can work it all out. You just need to believe in and back yourself that you can make it happen.
So, let me know, are you surviving, or are your thriving and why? I’d love to know.