Thriving is Just Striving!

Dear Jamie,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately and I feel like so many of my thriving posts over the past year have been about how I’m taking stock of where I’m at and figuring out ways to readjust, to get back on track, and/or make changes in order to ‘thrive’ again. At times, this has felt like a confession of my lack of thriving, but now I realize that this process is exactly what thriving entails!

I believe that, quite often, thriving does not mean a state of actualization or success but rather the ongoing process of getting there. It means having goals and aspirations and working each day to move closer to them. More often than not, we are in the process of doing rather than having and that’s okay. In fact, it’s great!

Let’s get real about what it means to thrive!As I mentioned in my post about the importance of mindful reflection, the majority of us spend so much of our time worried about where we want to go next and so little of our time actually celebrating our successes when we get there. If we look at thriving as a destination to reach rather than the journey, we are missing out on the larger part (and perhaps the BEST part) of the experience.

To be honest with you, before sitting down to write this post, I thought that this interpretation of thriving was something I had concocted on my own—a unique understanding I had reached through ongoing trial and error and compassion for myself and my journey. But guess what? The Cambridge dictionary literally defines ‘thriving’ as “growing, developing, or being successful.” Google’s first definition it churned out for me was “growing well or vigorously,” followed by a secondary definition of “prospering; flourishing.” It turns out, the TRUE definition of thriving is, first and foremost, the journey of striving for success.

When did we get it so backwards?! As a society, we’ve generally stopped recognizing growth as the definition and focused in instead on the final destination—which is part of it, but literally not even definition #1!! This is a huge realization for me and it’s utterly vindicating to see that the understanding I have reached in regards to what thriving is (which sincerely felt like swimming upstream against a general consensus that defines it otherwise) is in fact correct on more levels than I realized.

I’m calling for a change!Hooray for thriving being striving!! It’s a lot easier for many of us to admit that we’re trying, that we’re working on something, or that we’re moving towards our goals. On the contrary, we often feel undeserving of the title ‘successful’ or ‘thriving’ because we think that we should have something tangible to show for it.

Well, friends, that’s simply not the case—thriving means developing, it means working on it! And so does striving. In fact, striving may be an even harder process at it generally involves “making great efforts to achieve something,” “especially for a long time or against difficulty.” If you feel like you’ve been striving a lot recently (I know I do!) then GOOD FOR YOU—you’ve truly been thriving!

If you’re loving this concept, be sure to check out a number of our other posts that get into this as well:

Earlier on in my recognition of this definition: Accepting Who I Am

Working on my obstacles: Six Strategies for Managing Unstructured Time

Recognizing one of my self-sabotaging quirks: I Have Non-Commitment Issues

A recent time a thriving post called for more striving in my real life: It’s Really Hard for me to Take a Day Off

Claudia’s reflections on her journey: Accepting my own Journey

Join us on our imperfect paths of thriving and striving!How Claudia thrives through her workaholic ways: I’m a Workaholic

How Dani has come to define her “real life” in Spain: My Real Life in Spain

And an important reminder that it’s okay to seek support: Sometimes I Have to Ask for Help

I’m sure you’ll find something you can relate to on this list (and please reach out and share if any of them resonate with you; we love hearing from you all)!

Had you previously defined ‘thriving’ in this way? Are you feeling like it’s time for a change if not? I’m certainly going to move forward with my head held higher and spread the good news to all the striving people I meet. We’re thriving after all!


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