In Thriving Not Surviving: Bravely Pursue a Life That Will Blow Your Mind, Dianna (Dee) Kelly shows readers how to break free of what is holding us back and change the way we think in order to live the life we truly want to live. Anyone who’s familiar with cognitive behavioural therapy will likely notice a hint of CBT flavour thrown in. The book is interspersed with thoughts and stories from Jae-lyn, who blogs at The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom, and Jo, who blogs at A Creative PTSD Gal.
Dee explains how important it is to acknowledge and question the stories we tell ourselves, which are often rooted in our early years, and the beliefs that are limiting us. She identifies four mindsets to change to help direct us to our best life: accountability, perspective, gratitude, and forgiveness.
On the topic of accountability, Dee gets right to the point and doesn’t sugar-coat. We shouldn’t blame others or expect others to change; instead, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our choices. And in case you were thinking “yes, but…” she clarifies that this is not about blaming ourselves, but rather taking ownership of those things we can control and change. She writes: “You get to write your story. By holding yourself accountable for your thoughts, beliefs, choices and actions you can decide whether to believe the negative messages that are thrust upon you every day.”
Something I didn’t necessarily agree with entirely was Dee’s assertion that it’s impossible to feel both grateful and unhappy at the same time; I don’t know that this is always the case when looking at it in the context of mental illness. However, I do agree with her that gratitude is essential in making the most our of our lives, and she offers excellent suggestions on how to cultivate gratitude.
Dee offers support in moving toward forgiveness, suggesting ways to shift thinking and take responsibility for one’s own happiness. She also points out that in learning to forgive others we learn self-forgiveness. She encourages clear boundary-setting and removing toxic people from our lives.
The book includes a lot of recommendations on changing thinking, but it’s also very action-oriented. It’s like having a combined coach/cheerleader on your e-reader. Dee tells her own story as an example of facing challenges (including divorce and becoming a single mom), then actively making choices to improve her life and point her toward her goal of pursuing a life of absolute abundance. She’s doing an excellent job of just that, and is clearly eager to share what she’s learned along the way in order to help others.
You can find Dee on her blog Thriving Not Surviving.
You can find my other book reviews here.
My first book, Psych Meds Made Simple: How & Why They Do What They Do, is available on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.