“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” -Lao Tzu
Why do I love the word “thrive”? I define myself by this term often and every step I take in life is encapsulated by the value I place on its meaning. The word “thrive” means to grow vigorously, to flourish and prosper and to press towards a goal despite the circumstances. I believe the last part of this definition is what resonates with me the most, especially when addressing well-being.
Caregiving is traumatic, challenging, filled with long-suffering and sacrifices. There are other situations in life that can have a similar impact and may be relatable to the caregiving scenario. But no matter what the adversity is, the characteristics of a person who decides to thrive is truly honorable. What makes you stand-up and fight for your life and thrive, in spite of? It can truly be baffling to some, amazing to others, and inspiring to many. So taking the time to identify the things that make you “thrive” is imperative.
Here are the top three things that make me go “thrive”:
- My Faith: I don’t know where I would be without my faith in God; in something higher than myself. The belief in something I cannot see but just know is there, has kept me through many hardships in life. I have watched situations resolve itself, doors open, and blessings rain down on me, all because I choose to rely on faith. I believe that there is a purpose for every single human life walking this earth. But in order for purpose to be birthed out of us, we have to go through an experience. Those experiences shape our own personal cause in life. Faith is what is hoped for and yet not seen.
- Mental Strength: I like to describe this as mental integrity. Managing our thoughts is the key to the outcome of our emotions and our actions. What we think, elicits an emotional response and can cause a physical reaction. When life throws trials, problems and challenges my way, I have to pay attention to what I thought about those scenarios, in order to confront any absolutes that have been hibernating within my mind (such as “shoulds”, “oughts” or “cant’s”). It’s completely valid to get angry, frustrated, sad or whatever emotion floods from your heart. But then what? If we were to sit in any negative thoughts or emotions for a period of time, what would be the consequence? We must decide that we are a priority and worth every opportunity, blessing and gift life has to offer. We have to shift our thinking in order to thrive. This is a deliberate commitment to ourselves and will guide our steps that are conducive for growth and prosperity.
- Desire for Joy: I love to be happy. I love to smile, to laugh and to enjoy all life has to offer. Who doesn’t? (don’t answer that). This deep desire has never left me, no matter what has entered into my life. The caregiver experience has truly tested the authenticity of this desire. The amount of time I have spent fighting major systems of care, advocating for my mother, advocating for myself, could have stripped me of my joy and hope in humanity. When doors closed on me, opportunities were lost, friends deserted me, finances strained, I tapped deeply into that desire and made a “mental” decision to fight for it. I fought and still fight to keep that jubilation in my life, no matter what I see in front of me.
In summary, these are the things that make me go “thrive.” My faith has protected my mental integrity and leveraged the joy that resides within me, which in turn, has caused me to “grow vigorously.” I encourage you to evaluate what has given you the superpower to flourish in spite of. Once you have identified it, build your life’s foundation on it so that when a storm blows your way, you do not plummet, but instead rise on the cloud of your potential and land firmly on your purpose.