Thrive. intr.v. 1. to make steady progress; prosper. 2. to grow vigorously; flourish.
Just the sound of this word always excites me, breathes new life into me. It sounds and feels like some higher level of living than I am used to. Greater than just getting by.
A ways back, I went to visit with a law school friend who I don’t think has spent all of a day practicing law. Instead she has been doing things that are interesting and creative. I have always been fond of her because she has such a beautiful soul. There’s no better way to describe her. She exudes peace and beauty and I love being around her.
We were drinking her fancy loose leaf tea that she’d brought back from her world travels, talking about my then new job as an attorney when she posed the question: “Are you thriving?” I sort of looked at her blankly and took a sip, furrowed my brow and mumbled something along the lines of, “Well, I mean, I dunno. Who is? I’m doing the best I’ve ever done, I guess?”
I really was doing the best I’d ever done. I had a coveted job, I was making good money, I’d passed the bar and I wasn’t depressed. Things were really looking up for me. I guess I was doing great! But, I really didn’t know what she meant by “thriving.” And I didn’t feel like I was thriving. The question continued to bother me for the next year.
Recently, in my research on the Highly Sensitive Person, I came across Ane Axford’s website, sensitiveandthriving.com, which linked to a chart entitled “From Victim to Survivor to Thriver.” Now I don’t know if this is what my friend meant, but I started thinking about what stage of this chart I am in and what I can do to move toward thriving. Some things in the “Victim” column really spoke to me. Things like “lives in the past,” “feels selfish” and “hides their story.” But some things in the survivor column also spoke to me such as “struggling for reasons and a chance to heal,” “beginning to laugh,” and “grieving past, ungrieved trauma.”
I am proud of myself for moving past Victim in many ways, but I am only learning now that these things work in fits and starts. We grow and move forward, but sometimes we fall back. One step forward, two steps back, as the cliche goes.
But take a moment to imagine living in column #3. Imagine thriving. What would that look like? How would that feel? “Living in the moment.” “Feels authentic and connected, whole.” “Sees reality as their projection and owns it.”
How might thriving change your approach to life? How might seeking to thrive change you?