The Things that Make You Go “Thrive”

“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”:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

Thrive

 

 

 

 

Pain Recycled, A Wellness Approach

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials the would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products.  When we think of the term or the action of recycling, we usually are thinking of plastic bottles, metal objects, cardboard materials and so on.  However, in light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like to focus this blog post on how we recycle our personal experiences and heart-felt pain.

Our health and wellness journey cannot exclude our mental health.  Our mental health impacts our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and vice versa. It is tightly interwoven into all aspects of our life.  Mental health is one of our greatest assets and supports our ability to overcome challenges and obstacles.  It impacts our relationships, our abilities to function in the workplace, individual life goals, finances, and much more.  If we do not address our mental health as part of well-being, our desire for healing and being whole will never come to fruition.

Everyone single human being walking this earth has experienced stress.  The stress can differ among us and will sit on a sliding scale of intensity in different points in your life. That stress can lead to avenues of great pain and mental anguish.  If we do not address that pain in our lives, over time, we end up recycling it into our future experiences.  Those recycled feelings and experiences if not processed in a healthy, productive way, will strengthen the vicious cycle of unresolved pain.

Therefore, the question is, what are the proper materials needed to recycle our pain so that it can be used for a new purpose in life and not just left-over trash that can clutter our potential?  Lets look at some material needed to translate the experience in a productive way.

1. Identify It! Become self-aware. Notice your reactions, emotions and mental thoughts that occur in a situation.  Where are they coming from and are they congruent with the experience?  Alot of our responses to a situation, a person or event are exacerbated by previous experiences.  It is a build-up of old trash that never was taken out, let alone recycled.

2. Slow Your Roll!  Before making a final decision or display an extreme reaction; feel that pain, sit with it, and give yourself time.  Be gentle on yourself and others.  We are wrapped in emotions and thoughts that can be projected onto others, intensifying the current experience.  Spend time with yourself, sort out those emotions, clean up your thoughts and place it into its proper context.

3.  Practice a Wellness Approach! Whatever relieves stress in your life that is not harmful to you, do it!  Go for a bike ride, practice yoga, meditate, confide in a friend, or try something new.  Remember, an “approach” is different than a one time “occurrence”.  An approach is something you can regularly incorporate into your life that can assist you in recycling that painful expereince.

4. Turn Your Pain into Purpose! One of the biggest influence on my healing in life has been giving back to our world.  What I realized early on was that my experience is not exclusive to me.  I am not alone and am walking this earth with many hurt human beings.  When I began to take my message to the streets, I realized that there were others who could benefit from what I was learning.  If you want to recycle your pain into a product that has a new, fresh and fruitful use, help someone else.  You will quickly find that your pain becomes the catalyst for your purpose.  

Lets make a deliberate effort to address our mental health in our wellness plan for our lives.  Make your pain, your emotions and your thoughts a priority, so that all other areas of your life can evolve.  Remember, there is truth in your pain. Do not be ashamed of it, but instead, recycle it for a new use in order to support the growth in yourself and others.  Our world, your community and you are depending on that process.

“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.”  -L. Poindexter

 

May-is-MHA