Enjoying LIfe VS. Simply Existing
There are times in our life where we are content with the status quo. We just settle for the cards life has dealt us. Life has a way of sucking the energy from us in a way that makes us complacent. For sure this could happen after a long fight for something - health, wealth, a relationship, marriage - that simply exhausts you. The fight beats you down and you give up. Giving up is different from surrendering control.
There have been many days, living with Lupus while arming up against breast cancer that I was just happy to be alive. I was tired. I was worn and I was beaten. I was clearly losing the fight but the fact that I was still alive was a win. So I settled in to appreciate the victory. There came a time where I didn't expect more. Who needs more anyway? What am I missing? Everything I have is right here? Right?
Did you know the state of thriving can become a habit? Do you regularly use the phrase, "I'm sick and tired?" Is it a common space to just be happy that you made it through the day uneventful. Do you know what it's like to live to simply exist? You know what this is called? Survive mode.
Here are some ways that you know you're in survival mode:
Many women in midlife get to the point of wanting to do more than just thrive. We want to be viable. We want to feel passion, energized and excited about life. As we get older we look around to see the scars and wounds just from living life. Many of us have experienced hurt, disappointment and many hardballs that tried to steal our joy.
Remember the vigor for life we had in our teens? How aspirational we were in our twenties? Seems like a lifetime ago. Divorce, disrupted careers, failed business, unruly kids, caring for aging parents etc...has left many women exhausted. Fear and habit has them nestled in with a group of friends and loved ones who fail to challenge the complacency.
If you can relate, perhaps you too are comfortable being uncomfortable. You have a routine and your life is working. So, what's the problem? Your life isn't bad, but you still aren't happy. You have a nagging sense that something is missing. An elder once told me this feeling is our Divine alarm clock signaling to us to get back in the game and enjoy life before it's too late.
My mission is life is not merely to survive, but to thrive: and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style. ~Maya Angelou
Click to Tweet
I want to be clear that I understand transitioning from surviving to thriving is more difficult than just saying a few affirmations, joining the gym and learning to meditate - although each of these are very good starts!
In times of darkness, pain, loss and grief it is most difficult to dig deep to find joy let alone the will to thrive. How do we get the strength to seek abundance, or the promise of fulfillment? It often seems too hard to go it alone. We aren't equipped to manage on our own and all too often we are reluctant to share all of our woes with others.
If you are in this state of mind, don't try to manage your emotional and mental wellbeing on your own. Get support. Get help to get the route of your concerns from a licensed professional who will meet you will you are with care, empathy and patience. Click here for Good Therapy to find a therapist that suits your need.
In the meantime, you can start with small steps to change your mindset. You set the intention to thrive. Yup, make the decision to live life to its' fullest. Break the habit of living mediocre and choose a purposeful existence.
Here are 10 strategies that worked for me to get you started:
- Allow yourself to feel: experience the pain, the joy, the fear or the anxiety if that's what comes up. Don't fight or try to suppress the emotions. Apathy is worst thing you can do for your wellness. If you are sad, feel the emotion and think about what brings you to this space? If you are angry, ask yourself why? Equally as important, what can you do to forgive others, forgive yourself and release it. Diligently work to replace negative emotions with positive and more affirming ones that uplift and motivate you.
- Breathe in gratitude: this one is short, simple and sweet but most effective. I won't bother you with cliches about an attitude of gratitude but what I will encourage you to think about all of things that you are thankful for. In my lowest days, I often thought about how I am so thankful for my grandson. He inspired me to recall special moments with his mother when she was that age. He is so similar to her, that I decided that I must live so I can bear witness to how she deals with him when he's a teen. 😂
- Move your body: take a walk, feel the sun on your skin and get in touch with nature. A thirty minute exercise will improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It will leave you feel more vital and energized.
- Remember the good: think about the times in your life where you laughed. Remember the feelings of love - giving love and receiving love. Write down three things that caused you to celebrate, how did you feel and what did you do to contribute?
- Rediscover your strengths: make a list of your assets. Remember who you are. You are more than a shell of your former self. If it's hard for you to identify your strengths, click here for the VIA Character Strengths Survey, Get to Know Your Greatest Strengths. Take the test along with your best friend or loved one, see if she confirms your thoughts about yourself. My daughter, son and I took the test together. It was fun, but it was also informative. Most strengths were evident to each other while others we called each other out to say, that skill is not what you demonstrate. I real eye -opener for us.
- Relish in evolving: you are not the person you were as a young girl, you have mainly put away childish ways. When you look back on those experiences, you realize how far you've grown, how much you've learned, how much you've changed. This wisdom takes place over-and-over-and-over again throughout your life. From your 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond. You are always evolving. Embrace the changes. Welcome the wisdom.
- Drown in positivity: psychologists say experiencing more positive emotions during interactions with others set the tone for greater wellbeing. Put some distance between you and toxic people as toxic relationships do not serve you well, they prevent you from thriving. Some people may not be comfortable with your new state of mind so you must take responsibility for your own wellness, so feed those folks with a long-handle spoon. Surround yourself with positive people who are invested in your personal growth and sincerely want to see you soar.
- Savor moments: Life offers many spaces for beauty and love. There are plenty of opportunities to experience joy and pleasures. Get in tuned to your authentic self. Give yourself the freedom to take in all the good in the world. It doesn't mean live outside of reality, what it means is there are two sides to life...give yourself permission to pause for a moment to enjoy what's good in your life. Relish in the splendor of life.
- Increase flow experiences: also known as being in the zone. It's the state of mind when everything is all good. You are fully engaged, enjoying a space. When you are involved with an activity that allows you to escape into a space of bliss, you will be reminded of what it's like to thrive. What is your thing? What is that thing that you can do for hours and loose track of time? Dancing, singing, reading, bird watching, hiking, swimming, writing, playing an instrument or even a video game? For me, it designing graphics for brands. I can spend hours using images to share the story of a brand that speaks to that brands mission and purpose.
- Be kind, accept kindness, love freely: one of most powerful ways to position yourself to thrive is to create a space for kindness, care and love. Watch your mood shift when you smile at strangers, or when you say kind words to the cashier at the store. Don't forget to be kind to yourself. Give yourself the gift of compassion and forgiveness. Self-love is the key to fulfillment as it creates a space to both give and receive love from others.
If you are like me, you want to do more than just exist. You want more out of life. You want joy, giggles, love and positive experiences that make you feel good.
The most important thing for you to understand when we want to transition from a life where we are merely existing, to a life we truly enjoy is to living in the space of honesty and self-reflection, as they are paramount to making it happen.
If you're interested click here to read my article, What Would You Do If You Were Brave?
Looking forward to hearing back from you. Share your thoughts below.