Updated: Sep 2, 2020
A few nights ago I went to bed panicked.
The day had been crazy— full of taking care of kids, trying to get some work done in-between screams and yells for “MOM,” making dinner, and work calls in the evening. I hadn’t even had a chance to have a conversation with my husband, and it was 11pm.
Then the thought came.
“We are in survival mode.”
It came instantaneously. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve told myself we were in survival mode (and it won’t be the last.) And when I tell myself I’m in survival mode, I start to feel desperate, overwhelmed, panicked, and anxious.
When I ask myself why it’s a problem that I’m in survival mode, it’s just that— a problem. I don’t like feeling all those negative emotions that come with the sister thoughts to “survival mode,”— “If I were more organized, this wouldn’t be a problem.” “If I could just get a routine going, things would be easier.” “I don’t know how to get out of this.” “There’s a chance I will always be surviving, and never get a breath of air and relief.” Do you have similar thoughts? Similar emotions? You’re not alone my friends.
It always seems like other people are doing so well too— juggling it all, and making it all work. They have kids, jobs, sports, volunteering, church responsibilities, and they get it all done.
Are we getting things done? Yep. (I dare you to make a list of all the things you get done in a day.) So why is it a problem?
Because we think it shouldn’t be one. We don’t want to sit in those uncomfortable emotions. We believe that we should glide through life, having 1300 things going on, and it should be easy and fun.
But what if sometimes it’s hard and tedious? And it doesn’t mean that there’s a problem? Perhaps life is going to sometimes be fun and easy, and other times hard and tedious. And IT’S OK.
It doesn’t mean you always have to live in the hard and tedious, or that you even have to keep doing those hard and tedious things. (You get to decide, you know?) But if you like your reasons for doing it, then be willing to sit in the uncomfortableness of the busy days.
And if you don’t like your reasons? Then STOP DOING IT. I decided a long time ago that the stress and pressure of always keeping my house clean was just not worth it anymore. I didn’t like my reasons for trying to keep it sparkling clean (that others might judge me.) So, I do what I can, but I no longer demand perfection.
On the flip side, making dinner is difficult for me. Not actually the cooking, I love to cook, but the DECIDING what to eat gets me every time. It’s hard and tedious, but I love my reasons for cooking dinner (save money, teach my kids how to cook, healthier options, better tasting food.) So, I keep cooking dinner.
See? You get to decide how thriving looks for you. And you get to decide what your story is around your days. So, do you want to be surviving, filled with doubt and dread and overwhelm? Or thriving, where you feel some uncomfortable emotions as you navigate and make changes as you see fit, but are the hero of your story, feeling accomplished, invigorated, and peaceful?
Do what you love, and if you don’t love it or love your reasons for doing it, cut it out. Let it go. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed in some way because we need to reorganize our priorities.
Ask yourself, How can I thrive today instead of survive? Do I need to adjust my priorities? Do I like my reasons for what I’m doing? What story am I creating around my day, and is it serving me to think that way? How can I find more ease with my to-do’s today? How can I make today more fun?
And tell yourself, maybe surviving really is also thriving. It’s not a problem to survive some days. I’m thriving, even on the harder days.
Let yourself step into that belief for just a moment each day, and see what it creates for you. Hope? Content? Ease? Relief?
Let’s practice thriving. Let’s practice surviving not being a problem. And see what happens.
I promise, it will serve you so much better.
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