What is it to thrive in life? How do you know whether you are merely surviving or thriving? It seems fairly straight forward, or does it? I never actually realised the extent I was surviving until I started to thrive in my life. It makes sense that we don’t know any better until we have experienced something for ourselves.
So what does it mean to survive? Well in my case it was convincing everyone else in my life that I had it all together. How I felt on the inside was quite different from what I projected to others. People often commented to me that I came across as a confident and easy going person. Yes, I guess these traits are at the core of me as a person but for a long time, this was more of a desire about the personality traits I valued as opposed to actually being those traits.
Whatever was going on, I was most certainly not thriving. I was very mindful of what my life was supposed to look like to others. Whether this was modelled or whether I picked this up from societal expectations, I’m not entirely sure. I guess you could say that my mindset at the time was working against me. I was never going to accomplish what I expected of myself... perfection.
So with this "You need to be perfect" hovering above every aspect of my life, I was never able to rise to the heights I expected. I did fairly well at whatever I put my hand to, I received pretty good feedback from others, whose opinion mattered to me, but it was never enough. I never stopped long enough to appreciate these achievements.
As well as this debilitating desire for perfection, I was dealing with the fact that nearly everything put me into fight/flight. When a person goes into fight/flight, their body shuts down to the most basic instincts. Within the brain, the blood rushes to the lower left quadrant, leaving the only options for this person, to either stand and fight or flee the scene. When in this state, there is no such thing as thinking something through logically or objectively.
I could literally feel my body shut down whenever I felt the slightest bit challenged. This could happen as a result of doing something I had never done before, speaking up to a group of people I did not feel socially safe with, having someone question my standing on something and at one stage, going out in public was a challenge.
It is important to note that at this point in time I did not know who I was as a person, I might have had an idea but I lacked conviction. I bought into what others thought of me or said about me, not really taking into consideration, their possible agenda. I was using all the energy available to me to prove my worth to others. What a complete waste of my energy and time. Maybe not a complete waste of my time as when I realised what I was doing, an opportunity presented for change.
So what did I do to turn this around and start thriving in life? Well I started to spend the time, effort and money, I needed to spend, on myself to discover once and for all who I was. I had this idea of the person I was or wanted to be and I guess I let my feelings guide me from there. I moved away from people and situations that left me feeling crap about myself. This was quite difficult as I held on to any number of reasons for people treating me the way they did, I saw passed the behaviour to who they were, but this was not serving me, in fact it was bringing me down. Just because you understand why a person behaves the way they do, does not mean it is right or that you should let them project that behaviour onto you.
I isolated myself for quite some time. At first, this time felt lonely and I felt like a bit of a failure for these relationships and situations in my life not working out, but I soon understood that this alone time was necessary for me to block out the outside chatter and start listening to what my body, thoughts and feelings were telling me.
I started doing things that made me feel good, such as swimming, walking, meditation, reading inspirational stories others had about moving forward and various therapies. I picked myself up whenever I had negative thoughts about myself. On these occassions I would flip my negative thoughts and think about the good traits I saw in myself. I looked for the good in every instance, especially when things felt bad. I soon realised that everything was actually working for me, that every situation and relationship had taught me something about myself. I began to focus on the positives and something started to change.
I started to feel good about myself as a person. Sometimes I would feel so great that I felt I was ready to get back out there. I had a few false starts before I was able to get back out there with the conviction of who I was and what I stood for.
By doing all these wonderful things for myself, I was unwittingly telling myself that I was worth the effort. I soon realised that anything negative anyone had said to me in the past was not my truth, it may have been theirs but it was certainly not mine.
This change in mindset has allowed my body, mind and spirit to heal and recuperate. I now make choices based on what I need or what brings me joy. Because I know who I am, I know my strengths and weaknesses and therefore make decisions about what I do that utilise these. Because I am utilising my strengths properly, I rarely feel challenged, in fact because I am making choices based on desire, things that once would have had me in fight/flight seem relatively easy, exciting even.
I welcome and nurture new and existing relationships in my life that I value and hold dear, and no longer worry about the ones not necessarily right for me. We all have a tribe out their waiting our arrival, we just need to know who we are, without any doubts, so that we can easily find them.
Inner Health with Neuro-Training
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