Just for today: I will remember that all things begin with a dream. Today, I will allow myself to make my dreams come true*.
Why is it that we can’t get out of our own way to make dreams come true? What about that weight we want to lose? The pledge we made to ourselves to work out? Saving for that trip to Antigua or Ireland? That college or graduate degree we think will fix our problems finding work?
Many of us grew up in homes where we were not encouraged to dream. In fact, many of us grew up in homes where survival was on the top of the list. Without taking the inventory of anyone’s parents, those who went through the Depression or rationing in World War II or any other number of life-altering situations were focused on staying alive and keeping what they had. They did the best they could with what they had. Actualization was not a part of their world. Food on the table, a roof over your head, and enough clothing to be warm and dry and socially acceptable was enough. Keep your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel.
Even families that did well often had the belief that there was no dream, just a hardscrabble existence. It became a part of our inner voice as children and we carried it forward into adult life. Even if there was no drug or alcohol abuse or other form of dysfunction (abuse, neglect, mental illness) lots of us grew up with more than a little fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of not being good enough.
It’s hard to dream when you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never make it if you do try to follow a dream, and the pain inside sends you in directions that thwart success. If we do dream, the dreams are wildly unattainable without many intermediate steps and those steps take time and effort. Nothing worth having comes easy and if you don’t have a dream to follow and hope you can achieve it, those steps are more like roadblocks. We look at the outsides of others, think they have life handed to them on a silver platter and then compare that to our insides and we stop taking those baby and intermediate steps because we believe that we just don’t measure up.
Our self-limiting beliefs hold us back. We never try to begin with or we quit after one or two steps (think of being on a diet for two days, blowing it and saying, “I’ll never be able to do this!” and just quitting and gaining another 20 pounds – or more). We then slither along on our bellies like snakes and complain about the view. Damn grass is too high. Can’t see anything. And then there’s the birds overhead looking for a juicy snake. Life isn’t fair.
And how do I know this? Um, yeah, that’s my story. The deaf kid, the one with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities (dyslexia, dyscalculia) – how can you expect to make it? And then I look back and see that I did make it, despite myself. Only I need to keep on keeping on. And sometimes I just don’t do that. A pity pot is a very uncomfortable place to be.
Since all things begin with a dream, what is yours and will you allow it to become true? If so, what are you willing to let go of (negative beliefs) to realize that dream?
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