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  • Chrystina Braaten

Thriving versus Surviving

Some of you may have heard me ask you think question before. We may have talked during our sessions about how do you create a thriving versus surviving life for yourself. This month I decided it would be awesome to write it all out. To spend some time talking about thriving versus surviving and how to achieve a thriving life that we all seek for ourselves.


How do you know if your ae living a thriving life or a surviving life? Some of us can answer the question easily. I am just surviving. Just getting through day by day, struggling financially, struggling with tasks that have to get done, drowning in the bump and grind of our lives on autopilot. Or maybe the answer is I am sometimes surviving and sometimes thriving. Sometimes I have a handle on things and then it seems that other days I struggle more.

But how many of us can say, “I have a thriving life”. I can. But man, it didn't happen overnight! It took several years of finding what I need to create that thriving life and then time to achieve it. Nothing happens overnight in our world. Unless we have mastered the universal laws and broken all of our karmic patterning. Which is not very common. Instead, we all need time. Time to figure out how to make the necessary changes in our lives to attract and achieve the tasks to create our abundant thriving future. For me, there was lots of trial and error. BUT NEVER failure. Failure is just learning what not to do, which can take several attempts to discover. There is a quote from a movie that I absolutely love titled National Treasure. Where Nicholas Cage's character says “Thomas Edison tried and failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb. And when asked about it, he said ‘I didn't fail; I found out 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb,’ but he only needed one way to make it work.” This is just like us changing our patterns. There is no fail, just finding ways that it does not work for you and ways that it will.


We know what a surviving looks like. We just may not realize that is what we are doing. If you look at your life and see that you are not living a life that brings you joy then you are surviving. Some of that survival might be because we tend to be focused on what we do not have instead of what we have. We also justifying our pain to ourselves and to others. Like you can’t have happiness without sadness. Or you can’t have joy without sorrow. This is not true. We do not need negative things just so that we can see the positive things. Its our ego’s way of justifying our current situations so that we can maintain our status quo or use as a way to “comfort” someone going through a hard time. We do not need the death of a child to appreciate our other children and life more. We do not need to see suffering to appreciate what we have in live. We have to change our perspectives of what life looks like to make changes to our suffering and pain. All of this is surviving. We as a society support the survival of the death of a child we do not support thriving afterwards. We support surviving life and its tasks; we do not look to thrive through them. We have justified the “sacrifices” that need to be make just to make it as we are now. But what if we could look at the life we have now (where it is without a partner in life, without a child we thought would be with us, and all the lack that we see) and turn it into a life that we can thrive regardless of the lack that was there before.


Now that you know where you are on your spectrum of thriving versus surviving, what do you do about it? The best way I can explain the move to thriving is through an example. For me a surviving life looked like this…I was single, living in a small rented space, socializing less than I would like, pay cheque to pay cheque, and feeling like I could never achieve what others had in life. I had an education that made finding a job very easy, but every position was limiting in my potential, restricting the help of patrons to bureaucracy and red tape, bullied by other adults because they were also miserable in their lives, and spent more time working causing so much fatigue even if I wanted to do something I was so tired I could not. I didn’t have a husband/partner and children to make this surviving even harder! But it was hard enough and I was crushed by expectations of what it meant to live and exhaust in this experience. I looked at what I was being told by others and reflected. I asked myself if those desires and expectation really fit for me or what I want from my life. And the truth was no. Almost everything did not fit for me. Sure, I wanted a partner for life, but I could live just fine without one. Did I want children, that was very dependent on the person I was with and whether or not I thought they could be a partner or just a doner. Did I want to work 40 hours a week Monday to Friday never going anywhere. No, I think to macro and know that there are alternatives to what are currently out there for the majority…what about the minority? I looked at what society said I had to own for a home, clothing, household items, recreational ideas, and holidays. While some of it seemed to resonate, a lot did not. I knew what I didn’t want. I then asked myself, what DO I want. I knew a big house would make me house poor not being able to afford vacations and extracurricular things I like to do (like quilting and reading!). I hate cleaning so either I pay someone taking more money away from me or I live in a smaller space making clean-time faster! I knew that I didn’t want to just be in a relationship so I wasn’t alone. I wanted to be with someone who knew themselves and would be an equally contributing member in all household needs and not think because I am a woman that I have to do all the “inside stuff” and still be expected to work! I also knew that I could not continue to work for any organization that took critical thinking away and conditioned its staff to regurgitate the company line putting the organization above the patrons. And from this the thriving life I was search for started to take form. It still took me 5 years to get to a point where I live a thriving life. I have a small amazing home that I can clean from top to bottom in 20 minutes! A partner who is just that, a partner who carries 50% of the entire load. And my own business where I can truly support each and every person uniquely, as we are not robots who require the exact same prescription of support. I still look at my life every day and think…what do we need to increase this thriving life? Some days we need absolutely nothing! While other days we decide renovating a space will bring us more joy or getting a puppy will bring more joy (and frustration lol). There are still things that happen in life that can cause me to think I might be slipping back into survival mode. But then I take a step back, bring myself into the present moment, and ask myself the question, “am I looking at my life from the perspective of others or am I creating what I want to create?”. If the answer is that I’m looking at my life from the perspective of others then I am getting back into survival. But if I look to create what I want to create I move back into my thriving life I worked so hard to achieve.


In my example did you notice the steps you take to create a thriving life? There are 5 steps to create a thriving life for yourself. Now, these can be very easy, or hard. It depends on where you are in your life and how much changes are coming. But no matter what know that you can 100% change your surviving life even if you are homeless. The road and time might just be longer than someone else’s. This is why we DO NOT compare anyone’s experience to another’s. We each have a path that we have to take and they are ours alone. No one else to judge, make light of, or claim it is impossible. The 5 steps are as follows:


1. Ask yourself this question, are you thriving or surviving?

· Once you know where you are on the spectrum you become aware that you could achieve something different.

· You need to know where you are in the life you want or not, because maybe you do not want to change anything!

2. Make a list of the things you do not want in your life?

· We have been conditioned by society to see what we want through what we do not have. We end up living a life focusing on lack of instead of abundance. This is true even if we have what we think we want. It is still from a place of lack because if we loss it then we “loss our happiness along with it”. It is the saying that money cannot buy you happiness. That is not true. Money can by your happiness. But if you cannot maintain that money then you lose happiness.

3. Now that you know what you do not want, make a list of things that you do want.

· Do not completely focus on material items. Yes, you need a roof over your head and clothing etc. But this is deeper than that. By focusing only on material items is a big contributor of how we got into the survival mess in the first place. Focus instead on concepts. Like if you what to be happy, have a family, be able to travel, flexible work schedule, etc. These things support a thriving life and not a surviving life as we have control over them while we don’t always have control over material items.

· This is where we have to stop focusing on lack of and what we do not have versus someone else. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Because what is good for someone else might be bad for us. We don’t know the choices that person had to make to have what they do and maybe we are not okay with those choices. This is where the law of attraction does its finest work!

4. How do you obtain the things that you do want? What does that look like to you?

· These two questions are used depending on what your “want” is. If you want to be happy, you need to know what happiness looks like otherwise you will not know you have reached happy.

· Whereas how do you obtain is more about a living space or flexible schedule. In my field the only way to obtain a flexible schedule is to be self-employed. But that might not be the case for your field of work.

5. Reflection.

· It is always important to reflect and make changes as you go. The more you learn about what you want and do not want, the more you inform yourself and your vision of what a thriving life looks like changes. Originally you might have thought that you wanted to have biological children. But then discover that you want to be a foster parent more! Never commit to a concept that cannot grow and change with you. You do not stay the same forever. Biologically and cognitively. We continue to grow and mature. With that comes wisdoms and capacities we did not have before. If we don’t allow those to support us with a vision we had when we were 30 you definitely will not find a thriving life because what a 30-year-old wants is very different from a 40-year-old, 50-year-old, and so on.


There are two really good techniques for you to track what you need in life to create the abundant thriving life you seek. First is the concept of a vision board, but slightly altered. You can put together all sorts of pictures to help you visualize what you are trying to create. You can paint, cut out of magazines and make a collogue, you can draw, or you can do it digitally. Just make sure that you can alter this vision. Make sure you can add, remove, cover over, or alter whatever is on there. You do not want to get trapped into a vision that does not grow with you. This is why I really dislike 5 year or 10 year plans. Even the question of where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years is not one that I find helpful. What if you get there and you did not do what in that timeframe what you though you would do? There is a lot of negative attachment to that and you end up punishing yourself instead of seeing that your vision grew and changed as a result of that growth. We want to be able to take things off the board as we go and learn if that is really what we want or if it is changed slightly through trial and error. The second thing you can do is written. Journal or just make lists. Write to help yourself work through the steps so that you can keep track of how you want it to look, how you will achieve it, and so that you know when you get there that you are thriving. Please do not just do this in your head. It will take so much longer to change your life than if you write it down.


And remember, I am always here to help you discover how to create the thriving life that you want to create, not what society tells you you should. Unless that makes you happy then I will support you in that too! Reach out for help. We can always have a little more thriving in our lives.


Yours in healing,

Chrystina Braaten.


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