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  • Writer's pictureErika Sardinha

Thriving from the Inside Out: 3 Steps to True Happiness and Fulfilment as a Survivor

If there's one thing about me, it's that I have no regrets. A long time ago, I forgave myself for everything I had done while in survival mode. But still, there's something that if I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have done it for so long. And that's what I want to share with you today so you can avoid it. 

Here's the thing; I spent most of my twenties focusing on external success and validation, and when I look back at it, it just feels like a huge waste of breath. In my survivor math, I count a decade of abuse plus another ten years pretending like nothing happened and living a numb life that didn't feel like mine.

It is true, I was in survival mode, and that's what happens, right? You keep going, and you do what you're supposed to do. And as someone who's been through trauma, you make sure your life looks put together. So you go after the job, the relationship, the promotion. Maybe you buy the house. But then you realize that none of that makes you happy.

The reality of being a survivor is that our traumatic experiences teach us a couple things that, more often than not, stop us from creating a life of happiness and fulfillment. We learn to suppress our emotions and are made to believe that our needs aren't supposed to be met. Some of us are people pleasers, and some have learned that to survive, we must play by the rules, so we keep doing it to this day. 

Now, where does this leave happiness and fulfillment? There isn't much room, right?

That's because it is up to you to create the space for happiness and fulfillment and go from surviving to thriving. And if you're worried about how in the world will you do that, it's alright; I got you. 

The first thing to do is to take your power back and embrace the idea of thriving from the inside out. Thriving from the inside out means happiness from within and doing what makes you happy and sparks joy instead of what people, society, friends, and family expect of you. 

It's time to break up with the idea that there is a mold you need to fit in and start making your reality fit YOU. 

So, take your power back and commit right now. From now on, you're choosing to thrive from the inside out. Don't think about the next steps; don't think about the 'how;' or how difficult the task in front of you is. Now is not the time to do that, but let me tell you beforehand; you got this. 

This is where the work starts, the step one. Do I have your commitment?

Perfect. You're ready for the next steps. 

Step two: Reconnect with yourself 

"If you know who you are, no one can tell you who you're not." When I heard this sentence from Iyanla Vanzant, a lightbulb went on inside my brain. 

I had spent my life being what people told me and showed me I was, but when I heard that, I understood the assignment: I had to know myself so well that no one could tell me something I wasn't. And I would never again act in a way that did not honor myself. 

Unfortunately, I had a problem: I didn't know who I was. Growing up, I never had the time to get to know myself because I was busy surviving a chaotic and abusive household. And after that, I didn't know any better, so creating the space to do it wasn't even an option. 

But after listening to Miss Iyanla, things were different. I recently started my healing journey, so I created the time to reconnect with myself, and I invite you to do the same. 

Who are you at your core? What are your unique needs? What triggers you? What makes you happy and brings you joy? When are you the calmest?

These are the questions you may want to ask yourself before you move on to step number three: Explore your own version of thriving.

This is the step where you ask yourself what you really want from life.  Now that you have taken your power back, committed to thriving from the inside out, and reconnected with your true self, you are ready to create your own version of a thriving life.

You get to explore what would a thriving life look like for you and what would actually make you happy. 

This is not the time to be 'realistic' or get caught up in the details. Building a life where you're thriving from the inside out takes time and dedication, but don't get discouraged. Remember that you are already consciously or unconsciously dedicated to the life you're living right now. It's just a matter of shifting focus to create real change. 

So, what do you really want from life? What can you put in place to ensure you're well off emotionally and psychologically so you can actually enjoy the life you're creating for yourself? What type of life would make your heart sing? 

That's your own version of thriving. 

If you're wondering about the next steps, they would be creating heart-soul goals aligned with your own version of thriving and applying mindful discipline so you can implement habits and routines that support your new life. 

But these are topics for other blog posts, so subscribe to this blog if you haven't already! 

In the meantime, you can grab a journal and answer the questions we explored in this blog post. 




Pssst: I'm giving away FREE Next Level Clarity sessions this month. If you want more clarity about where you are, where you want to go, and what is it you need to start working on to get there, this offer is for you. 

At the end of the session, if it feels aligned for both of us, we can talk about ways of working together. If it doesn't, it's all good. Either way, you'll leave the call with more clarity and peacefulness. 

I've been helping survivors of trauma and abuse heal, thrive, and level up with my content, blogs, podcast interviews, my Facebook group Happy Survivors Tribe, free masterclasses, exclusive trainings, and 1:1 coaching programs.

It doesn't matter where you are in your journey, there's a resource for you. Email me at if you have any questions or simply want to share your story.     

You can book your Free Next Level Clarity Session here


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