How to survive and thrive is the million-dollar question, no matter what field we find ourselves in. Surviving and thriving is the oldest driving force in the world. All too often, we are like the plant in the picture, that is struggling to survive. We start off all lush and green, then life gets the better of us and we struggle to survive. Here are a few keys to help you not only survive but will enable you to thrive.
We need to recognize our fundamental requirements, in order for us to survive and thrive, and these requirements come in two categories. We have material needs that relate to the physical, while our spiritual needs relate to the soul and our intellect. Just as plants need food to survive and thrive, so too, humans need to have these two categories nourished with quality food.
Ever since man first inhabited the earth material needs have been basic: food and water, shelter, warmth, protection. These simple needs never change, from the crib to the grave, though they may vary from culture to culture.
Our spiritual needs are a little more complex. They involve having a meaning, purpose, and value in life.
Belonging is Vital to how we Survive and Thrive
Humans have an inbuilt need to belong, which is crucial to our life-satisfaction, mental and physical health. Feeling accepted and belonging to a group gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. The loss of belonging is associated with stress, illness, and decreased wellbeing. This quickly leads to the ‘black dog’` of depression.
Humans need to be affiliated with and accepted by others, be it family, or some form of social club. When we associate with a group that shares our interests, values, or experiences, it provides us with a circle of support, that is vital to our emotional wellbeing.
Belonging is not a matter of changing who you are so as to ‘fit in’. It’s being accepted and trusted for who we are. We are all individual, so what makes one feel they belong, is not the same for someone else.
Developing new relationships means we must make ourselves vulnerable, but the alternative is to endure loneliness and isolation. It’s all too easy to slip behind your door and stand alone, but your life has value for others. Why deprive them of your company? Yes, sometimes solitude is necessary, but it should be like doing a painting. You need the contrast of the dark to highlight the light.
Self-Esteem is Vital to How we Survive and Thrive
We need to identify that self-worth and self-esteem are two different ‘animals’. Self-worth relies on external factors, such as success and achievements. Some people excel in this, while others feel they fail. That is all a myth, as it is not a matter of who did, or failed, but who had the courage to try. In publishing a book is not a matter of how many books I sell, though that would be nice, but the fact I had the courage to write in the first place.
Self-esteem is how we perceive and value ourselves, which is closely related to self-confidence. We all know our weaknesses, but we need to also recognise our strengths. We are all good at something, even if it is just being a friend. It is vital we place ourselves in a position where we can share our beliefs and values with others and build positive relationships. Associations that are negative, need to be avoided like the plague. You pull out weeds and throw them away before they overtake the whole garden. So, it should be with negative relationships before they drain you into ‘nothingness’. The decision to make the cut is hard, but it is essential if you are to live a life that is worth living.
We need to also recognise that we are our own worst critics. Be kind to yourself and focus on your good points, not what you consider negative. Life is a great bit balancing act as we learn to recognise, low self-esteem, good self-esteem, and excessive self-esteem. Your self-esteem heavily influences your choices and decisions, and understand that while confidence and arrogance are two sides of the same coin, they are poles apart.
Having a meaningful existence is to feel engaged and connected to a purpose. When I am not writing, I crochet amigurumi toys, or garden. Each activity connects me with my gifts and passions, while maintaining my own personal values. Then I go to a couple of like-minded groups. I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to achieve all I would like to achieve.
If your life has no purpose, it is difficult to slip those feet onto the floor each morning. You feel you have nothing of value filling your day. For me, creativity is a major part of my meaningful existence. My greatest joy in creating toys, is when I see pure joy, light up a child’s eyes as they pick up one of the toys.
In writing, I find freedom to express myself, explore new ideas and hopefully, encourage others to open their minds to new ideas and values. My garden is an extension of all this, as I enjoy the endless delights of the unending variety of nature.
You may not be a writer, or a handy craft person, or an avid gardener, but there are things you can do. Look for opportunities to fulfil your creative needs. Creativity plays a major role in shaking ourselves out of ruts and enables us to develop more empathy with others.
Control in How to Survive and Thrive
The feeling of being in control is essential if you are to survive and thrive. This may mean you take time to filter out the ‘noise’ in your life. Endless demands on your time, takes you to a place where you are no longer in control, but run by the ‘urgent’. Don’t let life ‘drag you along for the ride’.
You have choices every day of your life, it is essential to use wisdom in making choices that reflect on your values and who you are. Identify what is important to you, then put your time and energy into what brings out your best qualities and helps you grow as a person.
We have a brain that is so powerful scientists say it could be operated on two AA batteries. Compare this to the amount of power it requires to operate the most powerful computers in the world. We need to use that brain with wisdom, as we care for ourselves and develop empathy toward those we meet.
Simple Keys of How to Survive and Thrive
There are some simple keys on how to survive and thrive, like living in today. Yesterday with all its highs and lows, hopes and disappointments is gone. Tomorrow may never come, so teach yourself to enjoy today and make the most of it.
Unforgiveness is a cancer. It slowly eats at your soul. There is nothing you cannot forgive, just as you want to be forgiven. Along the same theme, don’t hold grudges. Life is too short to carry grudges. The only person you really hurt, is you, as bitterness takes root and sours your soul.
Focus on the important things, uppermost being your well-being, and what you can do to keep healthy and fit. Many people suffer with problems in the body, which seems inevitable with the aging process. Do what you can to alleviate the pain, but also remain outward looking. The old saying is, ‘Weep and you weep alone and looking inward all the time diminishes your horizons.
More Tips on How to Survive and Thrive
When new opportunities come along, don’t be afraid to try something new, or be too intimidated to take a risk. If you go to a group and don’t feel you belong, move on, and find another group you can relate to. None of us enjoy going into new groups, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Above all, don’t limit yourself. You won’t know you can’t do something unless you give it a go.
As much as possible, live simply and develop a joy in the little things of life and don’t complicate things any more than you need to. Queen Elizabeth was known for her simplicity in what she ate. A woman who was wealthy enough to be able to order the top food from around the world, ate simple meals. Who needs a gourmet meal every night of the week?
Above all, remain true to yourself. You are not in competition with anyone else and don’t allow disabilities, in any form, to limit who you are. Be yourself and enjoy learning to survive and thrive. Living a meaningful life is a lifelong pursuit, one that is never to be forsaken if you want a modicum of peace deep inside yourself, so that you not only survive, and thrive.
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Wendy is an inspirational writer, for which she has a strong passion. She is also very passionate about her garden and family. Wendy says life is too short to waste, so live it to the fullest and enjoy who you are.