Ever heard the old saying that you have to learn to survive before you can thrive? I think most of us can relate to this. I know for me, learning something new every day has become a portal to a new dimension of understanding various cultures, demographics, philosophies, views, and emotional structures that were previously misinterpreted. As a young girl, I studied at a prestigious school where I did not fit in. Had I believed in myself, things might have been very different but because I chose to hide in my own little shell, I missed out on many opportunities. I didn’t understand that I was just as guilty as those I thought to be mean.
Some people in this world, are able to command attention without even lifting a finger. Then there are others who struggle to be heard and even more who cower because their world has been wrought with people who bully, belittle, and chastise them for being different. I guess you could interpret this to mean that the mean girls and boys tend to rule more than we care to admit. Thankfully, society is waking up to this alarming trend. What was once accepted is now being challenged. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I for one, am glad to see the status quo of people who are often the underdogs, start to be seen for the talented people they are and not victims of constant ridicule.
So what does it really mean to thrive and not just survive? Well, take a look around you. How many people do you know are fighting against insurmountable odds and coming out stronger than ever? Are there people in your lives that are fighting diseases like cancer? There are several in mine that are and they are of more inspiration to me than anyone could know. There is a young woman at my church who refuses to let cancer win so that she can be there for her children. Her fight is a difficult one. She holds on daily to her faith and knows that God has her back no matter what the situation may look like. Her children remind me of God’s grace. They love their mother fiercely and the looks on their faces are only one sign of the love they have in their tiny bodies. They are embracing life and running full steam ahead not sacrificing one precious minute with each other. They are thriving in every aspect of the word and not afraid of the future for they believe that their faith will get them through anything and that my friends, is a testament to thriving. Many of us in the same situation may or may not fight as they have. Attitude is everything or nothing. This particular family has chosen to embrace positivity rather than negative energy.
Then there is my friend who is dealing with the anniversary of her son’s death. She inspires me every single day. Her knowledge is vast and her faith is strong. She believes with every fervor of her body that there is so much information out there to be studied and learned. She longs for the day that she can move to another place and start over with land that goes on past where she can see and a home that is truly hers. She wants her children and stepson to be happy in their lives and be self sufficient. She longs to not be so tired all the time and feel as though she can come through for herself without sacrificing the needs of others. She has days where she will tell you that she’s just getting through the days and in that respect, she survives. But she also has days where she thrives. Her case is a little bit of everything. I guess you could say she loves unconditionally and loves the Lord with all her might. We may not always agree on things, but to see her find the peace and tranquility in her life is all I could ever hope for her.
There are many folks in this world who are the risk takers. They are the ones who change the world. They jump out of planes, bungee jump, zip line, are athletes, politicians, doctors, lawyers, professionals and non professionals who don’t have any fear when taking on new tasks. If they do have fear, they have learned to mask that fear so well that others can’t tell the nervousness. All they have are the impressions they leave behind. The things they do in this world often showcase a talent, regardless of their true profession. These men and women are their own types of trailblazers. If they allowed fear to get in the way of their lives, we wouldn’t have the progress in this world that we have gotten so accustomed to. We wouldn’t have the technology, the remedies, and the knowledge to make our lives so much simpler. They are the gurus that help us to thrive in this world and not just survive.
My heart thrives when it sees the good works that are happening in this world. When people are stepping up to the plate and helping to rebuild homes that were destroyed in hurricanes and natural disasters, it shows that we are all a part of something bigger. Yet, when I hear of the shootings and murders in this world, it saddens me to think that we are all just trying to survive each day without a tragedy occurring. Much of this world and dynamics are changing rapidly and sometimes it’s difficult to catch our breath and truly see the big picture. But, in my heart, I see a society that is thriving. When the chips are down, as a whole, society bands together and helps to pick up the pieces. The challenge is to not let one another think that we don’t care. No one is going to just hand you something just because you think you are owed it. They aren’t going to roll out the red carpet for you while you think you are too good for the rest of the world. It’s up to you to choose your path. Do you want to be someone to thrive and make a difference? Do you want to help others to not only know your name but to know that you mean something? If so, look at the things in your life that you can change for the better. Life is so short. Learn to thrive and not survive. Help others even when they don’t ask. Learn to recognize when people are screaming for help without saying a word. You might just find that you are helping them take the first step to thriving.
It’s easy to just exist and pretend that we are all invisible. But it really doesn’t do any of us any good when we are like this. In fact, we make things worse on ourselves. We tend to think that there isn’t a solution other than negative solutions and we don’t look for the other options. I’ve lost several friends over the last few years to early deaths. There were no answers as to why they gave up, there were only questions with more questions that came later. At the end of the day, it’s not difficult to feel that the world weighs us down emotionally and physically. But it’s our attitude and demeanor that helps us ignite the internal fires in the pits of our stomach that gives us the quench of thirst for being better. It’s what makes champions of all of us. Keep pushing for more in this world. Keep asking questions and taking chances. Above all, keep confident. There will always be something wanting to knock you down, get up anyway. If they knock you down, show them that you aren’t willing to just survive. Every one of us was meant to thrive and not just survive. The question then becomes what do you want to do with your life? Are you a survivor or a thriver? Either way, you are worth believing in yourself. Never forget this.