Are You Thriving or Surviving?
“The ability to adapt to a life situation can yield flexibility and prosperity = Thriving; whereas simply adapting to life, in general, can yield to mediocrity and stagnation = Merely Surviving”
Though adaptability can be one of your greatest strengths, it can also be one of your greatest weaknesses. Because by adapting to a life situation long term simply to maintain a sense of security, despite leaving you feeling uninspired and drained, will over time deplete any feeling of well-being eventually affecting your physical health. Examples of this include:
- Feeling like your life has no purpose
- Being in a relationship that has become stagnate and lifeless
- Living full of worry and hopelessness
- Suffering from health issues such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc
- Having an unmotivating job/career
- Forgetting what your passions were
It is vital to explore the many different aspects of yourself when you are in the process of discovering who you really are and how you arrived at your current life situation. After all, you don’t just all of a sudden wake up to the life that you are now living.
In fact, your life today is the accumulation of every choice that you have made even though there were many times that you did not believe that you had any choices at all.
However, in order to even make the choice to change aspects of your life or your life in its entirety, it is important to determine the relationship you have with yourself. So an obvious question to ask yourself is, “Do I love who I am?”
If your inner chatter is a negative one, then it can clearly lead to a lack of self-love, which plays a major role in your quality of life – in any life situation!
Without self-love, you can’t have self-respect, self-confidence, self-esteem, or self-acceptance.
Look at it this way, without self-love the only thing left is a lack of self-control, and without self-control, it becomes nearly impossible to make the life changes necessary to reach optimal health, let alone to recover from an illness that may already be present.
Also without self-love and all that it encompasses, it becomes very easy to become idle because at that point you figure what’s the use of putting yourself out there and seeking new experiences.
But remember, you weren’t always this way.
Can you remember when you were a child, before the weight of the world settled down on your shoulders, or better yet, your perception that the world was on your shoulders? When you were a child you didn’t carry that weight the way you do today. Back then everything was about imagination and play. And didn’t those days seem a whole lot longer than they do today? Why was that? Yet today, have you noticed how quickly the days go by? Just like that, it’s been a few weeks, a few months, and then in the blink of an eye, it’s next year! Yikes!
In general, you experience this phenomenon because you’re not enjoying each moment the way that you should on a daily basis, the way that you used to. You’re either constantly looking forward to some date in the future often with worry, or looking back on days that are long gone often with regret or heartfelt nostalgia.
Then when it comes to exploring forgotten or possible new passions to invoke change in your life, you convince yourself that perhaps down the road you might have the time or the desire to explore them, yet sadly the day, time and/or desire rarely come to fruition. And if the day and time should come, that “passion” is often not what you had envisioned.
It simply did not live up to your expectations. It’s no wonder why you have a hard time embracing change!
Ah, and what of the concept of time? Well doesn’t your perception of time also become muddled when your life becomes stagnant? Think about it, without change your daily routine becomes very mundane, doesn’t it? And although routines can be very productive when it comes to maintaining a sense of discipline especially when you want to achieve a goal, those in which you are simply going through the motions are most certainly not. Much like a gerbil on a spinning wheel, you may be busy, but you are certainly not going anywhere.
Change is an inevitable and necessary part of life. Though often we experience frustration from resisting the very change that we need to propel us forward in our lives. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I miss those the good ole’ days,” and wondered why today is so dramatically different.
Interestingly, what you omit from your thinking is the fact that the here and now will actually be the “good ole’ days” at some future date, right?
So, you seem to be either living in the past or longing for an amazing future that will relieve you from your dissatisfying life. Instead of making the necessary changes, perhaps you feel compelled to purchase material things because you believe it will make you feel better, but of course, once the novelty wears off you are back to where you started.
The same holds true when it comes to new relationships. They are wonderful at first, full of hope, euphoric feelings, and endorphins are flying! Life is great!
But if you haven’t made positive changes in your life, in your personal life, then once the newness of the relationship wears off, you are once again back to where you were before you entered the relationship. As the saying goes, “Wherever you go there you are.”
So what can you do to get out of that cycle?
Why not consciously perceive”change” in another way. It’s time to look at change as a new adventure to be explored, and not something to be avoided or feared. By consciously inviting change into your life, you can begin the process of pulling yourself out of the stagnation that you may have settled into, and discover new aspects of yourself!
A great place to begin this process of change is to determine what is life-giving and what is life-depleting in your life currently.
The following activity will help you to understand where the obstacles lay so that you can see things from a different perspective. This will help you to accomplish the following:
- You can finally make the necessary changes and/or modifications in your life
- Remove the negative charge out of life-depleting elements of your life
- Make the life-giving elements of your life more accessible
Okay, let’s start by finding out what consumes most of your life each day: Life-giving or Life-depleting elements. This activity will help you to visualize how much of your day is devoted to each – you just might be shocked!
First, keep track of the major activities of your average day along with something descriptive (how you feel) about the activity. And be honest! Here is an example:
5am – 6am: Wake up, usually tired and wishing I could sleep more.
6am – 7am: Make coffee. And then make breakfast for the kids which is usually a struggle.
7am – 9am: Drive to work and usually in heavy traffic. I am already taking calls from work solving other people’s problems.
9am – noon: Work. I have been doing the same job for over 20 years and I am so bored. I make too little money and I can’t wait to retire so I can live my life.
Noon – 1pm: Exercise! I love my yoga class!
1pm – 5pm: Back to work. Most of my work is mindless and repetitive. I often get tired throughout the day.
5pm- 6pm: Drive home. For some reason, the drive is better going home. I am usually thrilled to be leaving work.
6pm – 8pm: Make dinner which I enjoy and spend time with my family.
8pm – 10pm: Usually watching TV with my husband; usually his shows. I wish we’d talk or do something sometime. So I play games on my iPad. At least it’s nice to be with someone.
10pm – midnight: It’s difficult for me to fall asleep. My mind won’t stop working.
Midnight – 3am: Once I fall asleep I sleep sound. I wish I could sleep longer.
3am – 5am: I always seem to wake-up around 3 am. Then I worry about not getting enough sleep so it’s hard to fall back asleep. Plus, my husband snores.
5am – 6am: I do the whole thing again!
Next, on a piece of paper, draw two large clocks as you see here. One clock represents the first twelve hours of the day and the other represents the second half.
Much like slicing a pie, you will break up your average day and night into separate slices. Each slice represents a major activity performed on a daily basis. To know what slices to fill in, simply look at the major activities of your entire day (that you kept track of) along with your description and put them on your clock. How big the slice is determined by the time duration you gave for each activity.
Then based on your description, shade each slice with a matching color like the clocks below. Meaning, shade what represents life-giving activities (activities that you love and gives you energy) with one color (green), and those representing life-depleting activities (activities you dislike and drain your energy) with the other (red). Some people also shade areas that are deemed somewhat neutral as yellow. You may want to do this as well, though keep in mind that too many neutral activities can also lead to stagnation.
Many find it shocking how many hours of their day is spent in so much negativity, and this realization alone can often trigger them to consciously invite change to their life.
Once you invite change into your life, it’s amazing all the new opportunities that will begin to emerge!
So now you have an idea of areas of your life that you would like to change. Perhaps just a tweak will be enough, perhaps a major change is what is needed. Here are a few questions to help you to further:
- Do you find that more of your day is spent on life-giving or life-depleting activities? How did this make you feel?
- What are the obstacles preventing you from making your desired changes?
- Write five realistic steps that you could take to help you transition to a more fulfilling life-giving life?
Bottom Line: Your life is too precious to simply live on autopilot, so why not take a deep breath and make those necessary changes so you can regain control of your life and feel…ALIVE!
If you are interested in continuing with this activity in more dept, then I encourage you to check out Are You Ready to Make Positive Changes in Your Life?