Survival Mode Reimagined – Part 2– Practical Survival Strategies
Updated: Jul 13, 2020
Part 1 reminded us of the importance of honesty and authenticity, grace and forgiveness, letting go, and change in order to navigate survival mode in a way that guarantees that thriving follows. Part 2 picks up from where part 1 left off and reminds us of 4 more steps to pioneer pain's glow up.
5) Patience, young Padawan – the quickest way to get what we want is by being patient with ourselves and our seasons and try by all means to remember that the day we sew the seed is not the day we eat the fruit. Whatever habits we plant in our lives, patience and consistency are the fertilisers that feed them, helps them take root and, eventually, produce fruit. That will take time; change takes time. Aristotle said, “patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”. For one of the most intelligent men in history to advocate for patience at a time when the average lifespan was 35 years old is indicative of the value of patience. There will be times we may feel discouraged and that’s normal, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be discouraged. Socrates, the father of Western philosophy and Aristotle’s teacher, said, “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, therefore, is a habit”. Just as one would keep watering their garden even if the seeds had yet to sprout or bear fruit, we must keep cultivating the seeds of change even if our environments have yet to bear any fruit. Inevitably, eventually, with patience and consistency, we will reap the rewards of all the good that we’ve sewn.
6) Work with your weaknesses – When we find ourselves in survival mode, we are often overwhelmed by our weaknesses or we ignore them. Even if our intention is simply to focus on our strengths, to do so by ignoring our weaknesses is to live life with only one eye open. To overcome our weaknesses, we must work with them and incorporate them into our plans for progress. For every weakness we have, we have a correlative strength. Don’t fight fire with fire or ignore the fire thus creating a living hell, fight it with water or sand. Likewise, when we show weakness, we should lean into our strengths. For example, if you know you’re co-dependent, choose the right peers to depend on and have relationships with, or, if you’re negative, then spend time doing things that make you more positive such as hiking or playing in a band. Any negative can be managed in a way to create a positive outcome if we’re self-aware, creative and committed enough to do so.
7) You matter most – You may not feel like it, but you are the most important and powerful person in your life. Your relationship with yourself matters more than your relationship with anyone else. People will come and go, but we don’t have the option to just leave ourselves. So, it is best to commit to ourselves and make ourselves a healthy environment that we can appreciate, enjoy and from which we can benefit. Take the love, compassion, grace, concern and energy you pour into others and pour that into yourself. Give to others from a place of abundance. The world may not revolve around you, but your world should. That’s not selfish, that’s survival.
8) Priorities– The fire that pushes us into survival mode clears a path for a new life. We need to be clear and intentional about what we want that new life to look like and be composed of, what will help us realise those lives, what we need vs what you want, what matters v what doesn’t. That is how to choose which seeds to plant and how much energy to pour into which areas of our lives. We shouldn’t allow our circumstances to dictate who and what we pour our energy into or talk us out of who we are and who we want to be. Our circumstances are our guides, not our dictators. We are our choices, not our circumstances. If anything does not align with the life you choose to lead and your priorities, let them/it go. They aren’t oxygen, you don’t need them for you to live. Do not be afraid to fall apart; it presents the opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you’d always been.
By Naledi Hopa