What Does It Mean to Thrive (in 2021 and Beyond)?

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou

What does it mean to thrive?

Thriving is feeling empowered and abundant. Thriving is living life on your terms and acknowledging that you can achieve whatever you desire.

You might be thinking to yourself, I wish that were me.

Perhaps, instead, you feel powerlessness? Scarcity? Like you’re following a plan somebody else prescribed for you?

If this is you, it’s important to be aware that you do have power over your circumstances. You can develop yourself. You have the ability to thrive.

And thriving begins with cultivating your six pillars.

Thriving is feeling empowered and abundant. Thriving is living life on your terms and acknowledging that you can achieve whatever you desire. Share on X

It isn’t enough to maintain one or two pillars. You need all six.

Each pillar contributes to a solid foundation on which you can build the life you desire. When all of your pillars are strong and well-maintained, you feel energized, inspired, and empowered. Your purpose is clear, and you’re able to manifest the life you desire.

But when any one of these pillars is neglected, your foundation becomes shaky… and collapses. This is when you start feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and stretched thin.

As you read on about each pillar, reflect on the condition of the pillars in your life. Are they fortifying your foundation? Or do you need to give two or three of those pillars more attention?

These reflections will help you understand where to focus your efforts this year.

Are you ready to learn how to stop enduring and start thriving? Let’s begin.

The 6 Pillars of Well-Being: How to Thrive in 2021 and Beyond

#1 The Pillar of Self-Care

Self-care is about tending to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Without self-care, your other pillars will certainly fall. 

Why?

Because putting your needs secondary to others and playing catchup with your health puts you on a continuous swing between stress and ease.

When you maintain your pillar of self-care, YOU are the priority. 

  • You care for your body through nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
  • You tend to your mind and emotions through journaling or meditation.
  • You nurture your spirituality through faith and prayer.

A strong pillar of self-care will bring greater ease as you work on your other pillars.

#2 The Pillar of Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance is about embracing all aspects of who you are, and that includes your not-so-favorite traits. 

When you accept yourself, you tell yourself that you are worthy of love, support, and kindness. Self-acceptance can lead to more confidence, optimism, and attracting better relationships.

So, how do you accept yourself unconditionally?

Start with keeping your inner critic in check when it tells you that you’re not worthy of acceptance. When you overcome your inner critic and recognize your value, your shame and guilt diminish. In its place, love and acceptance can flourish.

#3 The Pillar of Self-Worth

The pillar of self-worth is about knowing your existence carries inherent value. 

You don’t have to do anything to prove it to yourself. You don’t need to look a specific way, have a certain amount in the bank, or have some title attached to your name.

You are worthy as you are.

Recognizing your self-worth begins with reclaiming the power you’ve given away. Each time you put self-care on the back burner or let your inner critic win, you surrender some of your power. 

To reclaim your power, return to your pillar of self-care. Each act of self-care reminds you that you are worthy of care and love. And when you can internalize this belief, you will slowly recognize the self-worth stirring within you.

#4 The Pillar of Self-Preservation

Self-preservation is integrated into our core DNA because it focuses on what is necessary to survive.

Yet, women often overgive their resources — time, money, energy, mental bandwidth — and suffer the consequences.

This is counterproductive to your survival. 

Think about it.

Does thriving look like signs of burnout? Does thriving feel like you’re stretched thin in every direction? 

You know the answer.

You may not realize you’re overextending yourself because you haven’t established boundaries that protect your interests. By clarifying, “This is what I need to feel balanced, and this is how I will do it,” you can know when a decision crosses those boundaries.

This distinction can help you begin saying no to others and yes to you.

#5 The Pillar of Self-Advocacy

Self-advocacy is about using your voice to ask for what you need. 

Too often, you struggle in silence. Yet, you say nothing. Instead, you quietly wish for things to change. 

If there is something you need, ask for it. If you need accommodations at work, ask your boss. If you need to change something at home, ask your spouse.

Stop asking if you even “deserve” such a request. You don’t ask if you deserve to breathe. You just do, because it’s natural to your survival.

Similarly, you don’t need to ask if you deserve to feel empowered, or centered, or heard. If the desire is there, the only thing left is for you to initiate the change.

Return to the pillar of self-preservation and enforce those boundaries when you or other people cross them. 

#6 The Pillar of Self-Love

The pillar of self-love is exactly what it sounds like: loving yourself.

This pillar is often the most difficult for women to maintain.

Why?

Because self-love seems selfish or greedy? Caring for yourself means you’re not caring about others?

Self-love is anything but.

Rather, self-love is the pathway to achieving everything you desire in life, including supporting others

When you love yourself, you take actions that improve you. And when you improve yourself, you become a more empowered woman. When you’re a more empowered woman, you have greater resources to share with others.

But when you fail to love yourself, you engage in behavior that sabotages your well-being — whether or not you’re aware of it. How can you love others when you’re not in the right mindset or conditions to share your love? Your cup is empty.

Loving yourself is a pillar to thriving. Tend to this pillar, and you will eventually manifest the life you desire.

What Does It Mean to Thrive?

You will probably agree that thriving is about living life on your terms. 

  • Before, you felt stretched thin. This year, you will feel fortified and empowered. 
  • Before, you followed the whims of others. This year, you will create and follow your own plan.
  • Before, you felt like you never had enough. This year, you will have more than enough to share with yourself and your loved ones.

Take a moment to reflect on these six pillars of thriving. Which of these pillars need nurturing in your own life?

It may be one. There may be two. Perhaps even all of them!

The true blessing in life is that you have the opportunity to create the changes you desire. And this article offers a starting point for your self-development journey. 

Isn’t it time to acknowledge that you’re the captain of your own ship? Only you can decide that you have the power to do whatever you want with your life. 

To help you start making tangible changes in your life TODAY, I’m offering you this free gift: Your Building Blocks For Personal Empowerment Checklist.

When you develop your personal strength and resolve, any life you choose is within your reach. This checklist will provide:

  • Stepping stones for building your reserves of personal strength.
  • Encouragement to take action and go after what you want. 
  • Tips for enhancing your own sense of personal empowerment.

Click here now to claim your free gift: Your Building Blocks For Personal Empowerment Checklist.

Advocate for Human Equality and Compassion (But Don’t Forget Your Well-Being)

2020 has been relentless.

COVID-19 and self-quarantine have completely transformed our daily lives. Now, our country is in a state of outrage and despair. We hear the cries for justice from the Black Lives Matter movement. We bear witness to the awful injustices committed against our black communities.

It’s unbelievably disheartening.

The tragedy of George Floyd — along with  Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor — aches my heart and weighs heavy on my soul. And while we mourn their families and communities, I encourage you to do what you can within your circle of influence to inspire positive change.

Change Starts with Awareness

You can start by signing your name on this public open letter against racism and police brutality

Next, educate yourself. If you don’t know how or where to start, click here for a list of anti-racism resources, which include books, podcasts, and articles.

You can also have a frank conversation with your partner and children. As you learn more about the injustices committed against black people, share that insight with your family.

Then expand outward. Talk about it with your friends. Spread the message across your social networks.

Use your voice and your privilege to expose anti-black racism and amplify black voices.

Don’t Forget to Be an Advocate for Yourself

Being an advocate for others is an incredible thing.

As a white woman, I possess certain privileges that members of the black community don’t. I am in a position to use this privilege as a tool for good — to combat racism and raise the volume on issues I believe in.

But when you take a stand, you might feel compelled to stand on your platform forever. That you must do what you can 24/7, 100% of the time. Because if you don’t, it feels like you’re giving up.

But I learned that you can still support the causes you believe in and take time to be an advocate for yourself. You can step away and recharge.

Being an advocate for others and being an advocate for yourself aren’t mutually exclusive.

As you fight for the causes you believe in, your energy drains. And eventually, you need to step away and take time for yourself.

Being an advocate for others and being an advocate for yourself aren’t mutually exclusive. Share on X

Step Away So You Can Come Back Stronger

#1 Let Go of the Guilt

Think about this.

How effective are you as an advocate when you’re exhausted?

How can you be compassionate towards others if you can’t direct it to yourself?

How can you think clearly when your mind is riddled with anxiety and stress?

When you feel guilty about stepping away, remember that you’re not a stone monolith. You’re not unwavering to the forces around you.

You’re human.

Your energy is finite and your well-being is vulnerable.

There are times when you need to step down and step away. And that’s okay.

Taking care of yourself is okay.

Advocating for yourself is okay.

So, let go of the guilt. And take the time you need to feel 100%, so you can do what you do best and support the causes you believe in.

#2 Go On a Digital Detox

There is only so much negativity you can consume before your body and mind begin to suffer. Very Well Mind discusses a study that found “using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.”

That’s why I ask you to give yourself permission to tune it out.

Unplug from social media. Turn off the television.

You don’t need it every day.

Instead, find other outlets to spend your free time. Rediscover the joy of slower activities, like reading a favorite book or trying a new recipe in the kitchen.

Take some time for yourself. The rest of the world will be there when you are ready for it once again.

#3 Journal Your Emotions

Lately, I’ve been experiencing emotional turmoil. You might, as well.

You might have already been feeling loneliness in self-isolation. And now you feel horror over the pattern of racial injustice against black people that’s seen in the United States and around the world. Recent lootings and riots might even make you feel unsafe in your own home.

Right now, your emotions probably feel like a tangle of raw energy.

Journaling helps to sort those emotions. It finds the one string and unravels the mess, so you can better understand your thoughts and ease the burden in your heart.

If you need help getting started, here are a few journaling prompts to inspire you:

  • What am I feeling at this very moment?
  • How did the tragedy of George Floyd’s death affect me?
  • What are 5 actions I can take today that will help me feel more calm?
  • What are 5 short-term goals I want to achieve?
  • What is one long-term goal I want to prioritize?

#4 Prioritize Your Sleep

During these uncertain times, you may have developed increased anxiety and stress and might even be experiencing signs of burnout.

All of these can compromise your sleep quality. 

Do you have trouble going to sleep?

Are your thoughts racing when you pray for tranquility?

Are you waking up in the middle of the night?

Your sleep affects every moment of your waking life. Your energy levels. Your mood. How productive and effective you are.

It’s time to make sleep a priority. If you follow the above tips, you should see an improvement in your sleep quality.

Walking Toward a Better and More Compassionate Future

With the relentless media and chaos in our country, it’s no wonder you might be feeling overwhelmed with life.

Like me, you might feel compelled to speak out against injustice, like racism, in the world.  That’s amazing, and I encourage you to do so.

At the same time, I urge you to practice self-advocacy.

Advocate for yourself to become stronger and more resilient.

Advocate for yourself to become a better and healthier you.

Because the world can only heal and improve when we have stronger and more compassionate women in it.

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