Are you thriving or just surviving?
I used to think that the key to a happy life is to just get through it. Yeah I know, a strange perspective nowadays but it’s the only way I could get through life without crying. Life was hard for me and with no reprieve in sight, I concentrated on just getting through the day. I had nothing to look forward to and no one to share my life with.
One day, while working in a soup kitchen, I met Jack. He was a little older than me and homeless. He had the most beautiful smile and always had a kind word for others. We got to talking after he ate and he asked me what was wrong.
“What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong?” I asked him.
“There’s a dark cloud hanging over you, darlin’. I can tell you’re unhappy.”
I blushed and immediately felt guilty. Here was this homeless guy caring about an angsty teenager who just had yet another screaming match with her mother. Finally I broke down and told him what happened. I also let slip how my life was in shambles and I couldn’t wait to die to go to Heaven.
He gave my hand a little squeeze and looked at me with compassion.
“Listen, life is hard and sometimes it kicks your arse so hard you feel like giving up. It’s o-k-a-y.” He paused. “Maybe you need to switch your perspective. Instead of going through life waiting to die, live life to the fullest. Embrace the bad with the good. It’s your life and it doesn’t have to be so miserable. You have the power to change it.”
It was a light-bulb moment for me and one I never forgot. My focus shifted from “woe is me” to “what can I do to make a difference”. Sure, life still kicks my arse from time to time but I took steps to thrive and not wallow in self-pity.
I never saw Jack again at the soup kitchen. In my heart, I hope he took his own advice and is somewhere happy and successful in life. I wish I could run into him on the street and hear what he’s been up to. He changed my life and I’m so grateful.
Take this advice: Instead of just surviving, thrive. Shift your perspective from negative to positive. Take steps to change your life for the better. You’ve only got one life to live to make it great!