Thursday, April 28, 2011


When I was  in college I sat through a lecture that started by the speaker asking us to imagine that we've just had a baby. And that the doctors have come in and informed us that, "We're sustaining your baby nicely". What's your first reaction? Mine was, "WTF IS WRONG THAT YOU'RE USING THE WORD 'SUSTAIN' AND MY CHILD IN THE SAME SENTENCE???!"

Which was of course the exact reaction the speaker wanted. Since when did "Sustain" become good enough? We do NOT want to "Sustain". We want to thrive.

He used this example to introduce a concept he called "Thrivability" (like "sustainability" only different). And I filed that word away under "bastage words that have sold out to the man". But I find myself thinking of that man and his lecture more and more. And as much as I still think that "Thriveability" is a weasly bastage word that will sell its self out to corporate America at the first chance I think he has a point.

We were not put on this earth to survive. Or to muddle through. We definitely were NOT put here to fail. We were put on this earth to learn and grow and progress.

I have suffered for more than half my life with depression. I deeply understand what it is to feel hopeless. To know exactly why everything I could try will fail, or can't progress because I'm waiting on other people for xyz or it won't work because of abc and d. I know what it is to feel boxed in.

And I also know that all of those feelings are complete and utter bullshit.

Yes, there are times to sit and go "here is everything I've tried and its all not working (or not working yet or fast enough or whatever) because of x, y and z". And then you take that list, you stare it down for a minute and then you start a new list and the new list is called "What I can do".

You have to stop focusing on the can'ts and you have to focus on the cans. Its hard. TRUST ME I know its hard. But this ain't no fairy tale princess and there is no handsome prince who is going to come save you. You have to pull yourself up by your own damn boot straps and save your own damn self.

That is not to say that you cannot or should not accept the help of others. But it is to say that you accept the harsh reality that whether or not something is to be or is not to be is entirely dependent on YOU. Its a thought that is both liberating and terrifying.

Its terrifying because accepting that accountability for your own life means facing the harsh reality that somethings are your fault. Somethings aren't. Sometimes chit does happen. But what you do with it and how you react to it and whether or not you let that define you is entirely your choice. 

You can choose to be happy and that choice is entirely your own.

The realization that you are solely responsible for your own state of being is liberating because it means you can chose that happiness. I realize I'm repeating myself here but it bears repeating.

You cannot always chose your initial gut reaction to a situation. Thats a body thing and sometimes history and life and instinct have far more to do with your initial response to something than your brain does. But the second after your gut reaction, the second where your brain starts thinking that is when you have the control. That is when you decide whether or not whatever just happened is going to define you or if you are going to define it.

Knowing your own happiness depends on you is empowering. It gives you the power to recognize poisonous people and to acknowledge that they do not have a right to make you miserable. Under no circumstances are you required to accept the giant shit buckets that other people want to give you. You can walk away and not feel guilty about it. 

Knowing your own happiness depends on you means that you have to take the time to evaluate where you are, and where you want to go and then you hatch a plot to get you from A to B and you move towards it. And like a force of nature nothing can deter you from your course unless you chose to let it. If you find a route blocked, you back up, regroup, and go around it. If you don't know something you need to know then go learn it. God gave you a brain and the ability to learn so go give that fricking gray matter a work out!

At the end of the day we do what we want to do. Whatever it is, if you REALLY really want it, you will find a way to get it. 

So know this: you can have what you want. The question becomes "What do I want?" and thats a very serious question that bears serious thought and planning and most importantly: It needs a specific answer. For example you ask the question: Where do I want to be in 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? 10? Answer for the different categories: where do I want to live? do I want to work? if so what do I want to do? You need goals for education, for relationships (yes you can set and achieve goals here), for your emotional health, for your spiritual health, for your physical health.

And once you've got this great set of goals, pick your priorities. Because you are human and you can only do so much at once and if you try to eat an elephant in one sitting you're going to puke and die. BUT you can be making constant progress. You CAN have joy in the journey. Knowing that you are on your path and that you are achieving your goals brings JOY.

And most importantly, in all of this your strongest ally and greatest asset is your Heavenly Father. Put your relationship with Him at the top of your priority list and everything else WILL fall in line. You will discover that together you can accomplish things you've never dreamed of.

Somedays, yes surviving is victory. But it should NOT be your base line level of living. And yes sometimes being a grown up sucks. It means kicking your own ass up between your ears and having to do the icky dirty jobs that you'd just rather not do. But ignoring them doesn't make them go away. It just gives them time to get ickier and nastier. So bite the bullet and just do it dammit. Because then its over and you have won. You came, you saw, you conquered. And now you are better and stronger for it.

And in surviving that day you did more than survive. You learned how to thrive.

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