"You're selfish!" "It's time to grow up and leave the childhood dreams behind." "The only people who do this kind of thing are those that don't have a family to take care of." "You won't be able to support yourself. What are you thinking?" "If I were you I'd just be happy with what I have and ignore these silly ideas." "Be realistic, you'll never be able to do that and make money at the same time."
Ever heard any of those statements? I know I have, and they weren't always coming from other people. It's no wonder that for some, just the thought of chasing after a lifelong dream or passion brings along with it feelings of guilt, irresponsibility, fear and frustration. Growing up many of us are told that dreams are just that, dreams, and will never be realized. At a certain point we begin to believe what others are telling us and begin to repeat it ourselves whenever the thought enters our minds.
There are many reasons that people have for 'why' you won't be able to accomplish your dreams, or 'why' you're crazy for thinking you can, however the truth is, they simply don't know. Friends and family oftentimes repeat things that were told to them or that they overheard, things that they have never challenged, and instead have accepted as the truth. Disguised as 'good advice' they turn around and offer their opinions to you and feel that they're helping you out. Other times it's just an automatic response and might come from their experience with something similar, a fear of failure, or sometimes, even jealousy and anger.
At a certain point the guilt takes over and you may begin to justify all of the reasons why the others are right and how by continuing down this road you will only be causing pain to yourself and those you care about.
So what can you do? The good news is that there is a lot you can do in order to overcome these potentially destructive thoughts and feelings. One of the first things I always hear from those who have traveled the road is to be careful with who you share your dreams with, as others oftentimes, without knowing it, are in fact dream killers. Protect your dreams and be careful who you let in your head. At the beginning especially make sure and keep your dream sharing limited to a very select group of individuals whom you are certain will provide you with both support and understanding.
Another great thing you can practice is spending time at least once a week envisioning your dream as already present in your life. Focus on your feelings, what you see, smells that come to mind, and sounds you hear along with any other imagery or sensations that come up. This type of exercise will serve as a constant reminder of what you're heading towards and why, and put you in direct alignment with everything you need in order to draw the people, experiences, and things that you'll need in order to get there.
It's also very important that you are careful with how you talk to yourself during this time. Do your best to stay positive and frame your thoughts around your ability to both live your dreams and have your basic needs for safety and security met at the same time. You must have a firm and unshakable belief in what you're doing and why you're doing it, and if you don't, then act as if you do. This is especially important if you're experiencing a barrage of negativity from external sources. Taking this time-out will re-focus your energies and bring you back into a harmonic state of inner-peace.
Finally and most importantly, ensure that when someone else shares their dreams with you, as they often will, you give them the support and understanding that you desire, free of judgment, criticism, and negativity. This includes the fragile dreams of your children, spouse, and any others that value your thoughts and opinions. One of the best places to put yourself is at the point where your desire for them to accomplish their dreams is greater than your desire to accomplish your own. You may be surprised by the outcome.
Always remember that following your dreams is both a courageous and selfless act that says a lot about you as a person. Understand that your purpose here is larger than you'll ever comprehend, and know that by sharing yourself with the world and living your dreams, you will inspire others to do the same. In life giving is more important than receiving, and what you're about to share with the world has the possibility to transform lives. Now take that next step, release the brakes, drop the guilt and live your life to the fullest, others are waiting on you to light the way.