Why it's not selfish to be in survival mode

Why Living in Survival Mode is Not Selfish

Is it Selfish to Be in Survival Mode?

That is the question I have long struggled with and discussed with others. Recently, I felt like I had an epiphany about the subject. Finally an answer to the question; Is it okay to be in survival mode?

The drain of debt

Before I met my husband, I had no significant debt. My parents stressed a debt free lifestyle. My husband is from a culture where debt is normal, acceptable and even necessary for life. Taking on his debt was a huge adjustment for me.

Now it feels like it’s a constant looming dark cloud, reminding us to make our payments or suffer the interest. Our loans hog our financial resources and I long for the day when we can break even and have resources to share.

Is Being in Survival Mode Selfish?

A friend was sharing with me about how she was doing, how everything took so much effort and she hardly could make it through. I know this feeling well myself. She had been speaking with someone who told her it was selfish to be in a constant state of survival because you have nothing to give to others.

This troubled me and that week it stayed on my mind, “Is it selfish to be in survival mode?” and if so, “How do we stop living in survival mode?”

Living in survival mode is like being in debt financially. We have very little resources to share with others since it takes so much just to stay afloat ourselves.

Anna Zachow

This is when the epiphany came to me. Living in survival mode is like being in debt financially. We have very little resources to share with others since it takes so much just to stay afloat ourselves. Is it selfish to be in debt? No. Is it selfish to live in survival mode? No more than it is selfish to live in financial debt. But is it a place we want to stay? No.

Accepting Where You Are

It is okay to accept that this is where you are today. You can’t change the fact that you are hurting and processing and barely living some days. It’s not possible to just will yourself to get over it. That’s like trying to imagine away the loans and credit cards and thinking they will magically disappear. In order to make a change, you must first admit that you have a problem. So saying “I am in survival mode.” is the first step to getting better, like an alcoholic admitting that they have a drinking problem.

But, I encourage you not to stay there. Admitting your problem is only beneficial if you are willing to change. Admitting there is a problem and not seeking a solution falls short of what could be.

Moving Past Survival Mode

Choosing to seek healing is absolutely terrifying, downright painful and also fiercely brave. Because choosing healing, is selfless, choosing healing says I want to get better so that I can find emotional freedom.

So that I can stop living in the past and move into the present. Choosing healing frees up your emotional resources so that you can reach out and connect with others. You can stop focusing all your energy on making it through and you can reach out and help others through.


So the answer to the question is it okay to be in survival mode, I have found is, yes. It is okay to be in survival mode. But the goal should always be to move into healing.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Ways that you have found healing or things God has shown you about surviving in the painful and dark times of life? I would love to hear from you in an email or in the comments.

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1 Comment

  1. Wow! Those are really good insights! Thanks for sharing that encouragement!

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