Are you a striver or a thriver? Do you keep yourself constantly busy achieving things? Or do you dare to step off the hamster wheel from time to time in order to do the things you like or just be – in order to thrive? If so, do you dare to admit to being a thriver?
Sitting around the dinner table one night last week, I suddenly found myself taking a step back and listening in to the conversation that was going. I heard my husband and I complaining about what busy days we had had. How there hadn’t been any time to eat lunch or take a break, just busy ticking off the tasks from our long to-do-lists. It was almost as if we were competing about who had been the busiest. Then I looked at the children – each of them also with full-on days behind them with school, homework and after school activities. And it struck me; what poor role models we are!!
Like most parents, all I want for my children is to grow up to live rich, resilient and happy lives. Being a mindfulness teacher, I know all the research saying that in order to be happy, you have to have balance in your life between doing and being. I know fully well that pauses are very important both when it comes to wellbeing, but also when it comes to working efficiently and to the best of your cognitive abilities. I also know that it is important do things that we like, things that gives us pleasure and helps us recharge our batteries. Otherwise we end up being stressed or even burning out.
So why, despite all of my knowledge and good intentions do I find myself having those kind of days – and why is it important to me to tell the world that I am busy? I talked to Tuire (from Thriving Life) about it and we agreed it is because we have grown up in a culture where doing and striving are signs of efficiency and achievement, they are given a very high status. To be busy sends signals to the world (and your own ego) that you are popular, needed and clever and maybe that you are doing your part of the workload in a relationship/marriage/teamwork. On the other hand, doing things for yourself is often considered selfish and maybe even lazy. It is really, really hard to go against this cultural view and to step off the train both in action and in talk. It is also really really hard to change the habits and thought patterns we have grown up with and taught ourselves throughout our lives. It takes a lot of persistence and courage!
So, we here at Thriving Life have made a decision. We would like to challenge ourselves to be “thrivers” as oppose to “strivers” – to create more balance in our lives both in behaviour and in talk. We will take more time to do the things we like to do and we will tell the world about it – becoming better role models for the people around us and the next generation, so that it becomes both easier and culturally more acceptable to take care of themselves. The health and wellbeing of the future adults depends on the habits we teach them now – it is about high time we put all our knowledge into action and teach them how to take care of themselves – physically and mentally.
Now let us be clear, being a thriver doesn’t mean that striving is bad – there just has to be a balance – and in some cases striving and thriving can even happen at the same time.
So, we dare you now, please join the movement of thrivers. Let’s show the world that it is OK to be a thriver – to be kind to one self and live balanced lives – whatever that means for each of you. We fully believe that in the long run, it is what will make a better world.