Nov 01

SURVIVING NOT THRIVING

Do you know a person who seems to be constantly embroiled in turmoil? What keeps us stuck in survival mode? Some of us seem to be dealing with one crisis after another and can never get ahead of it. Sometimes it feels like conflict or drama are a regular part of our lives. Could we be doing or not doing something that is keeping us stuck in turmoil? It is possible that we inadvertently create conflict or at least contribute to its existence. Some people grew up in conflict, turmoil, and dysfunction so it feels very familiar and comfortable in a strange way. We are often drawn to what we know and avoid what seems foreign and different. For some, conflict produces energy, challenge, and maybe even purpose. They seek turmoil in an attempt to fix what they couldn’t change during their childhood.

Unfortunately, surviving often implies just getting by and living with anxiety, stress, and fear that things won’t get worse. Survival mode is like living in a constant state of “fight or flight,” which wears down our physical and emotional being. Just surviving also enables us to have a built-in excuse for not thriving and accomplishing more in our own lives, even though fear and insecurity are probably the underlying factors. In some situations we take on too much and are too busy to achieve great things and find our true passion. Or we make bad decisions about relationships or work that create more turmoil than we can handle and we don’t have the strength or resources to pull out. Of course surviving is better than giving up or accepting defeat, but what does it take to thrive?

For starters we need to avoid getting in over our heads and trying to fix or solve everyone else’s problems. So having good boundaries and being able to say no will help. Finding our sweet spot and passion for life will enable us to thrive which takes time and planning. We need to take time to reflect, pause, and create a vision for our next year, five years, and lifetime. Obviously we thrive when we are functioning at full capacity so taking care of our physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs is crucial to thriving. Living life to its fullest, realizing our dreams, and having a positive impact on others can help us thrive. Remember that thriving is not about wealth, status, power or control. It is about finding your niche and experiencing peace, joy, and fulfillment. Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.

2 comments

    • Ron Sharpe on November 1, 2017 at 9:06 am
    • Reply

    Sadly, I am one of the people who is struggling, who is looking over my shoulder everyday for the next setback. I’m in my mid-40s, I am unemployed for the seventh time since I finished school. I am well educated with undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in a fairly intellectual discipline. I have never done well searching for work–from the start I faced “you think your degrees mean you get to start from the top don’t you?” And I never thought that. While I hoped I might do better than data entry, I did do that for over a year. Then, out of nothing other than sheer desperation, I started looking for work in the one area I never wanted, but believed I could find work. I did get some, and I have been laid off or had contracts not renewed so many times that my next job in that field will be my 10th (and 15th in less than 20 years!).
    And I’ve always, always, always, undercut myself on salary and more than once been hired not for my skills but my desperate willingness to accept a lower salary than the company was hoping to have to pay. Seriously, the last two permanent hires I have had I was told at some point later that I was not the idea hire, I was the one who came cheapest, the one willing to accept the low-ball salary offer! I’m always swinging in the dirt!
    I don’t even know how to live anymore. I am on a very short path to bankruptcy. I have no help. I have no money left. The straight truth is no one has ever helped me. And, worse, no one–absolutely no one in my life–believes me that I am trying–desperately trying–to find a job. They all think I enjoy being out of work, selling my stuff, giving up on dreams…
    I don’t know how much longer I can last… I’ve come to the point I crave terminal illness.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings Ron. It sounds like your situation is incredibly frustrating and difficult. Unfortunately, I can’t fully appreciate your situation based on a blog comment, which limits my response. I hope you have considered counseling in your community that is affordable. Some people have also found benefits in joining a support group and/or faith-based group.

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