The one surprising hurdle in following your own dreams


This weekend we are having a workshop at my meditation school (since I’m always mentioning it, here is a link – lots of interesting new classes are starting in November!). Last night, as I was letting all the information soak in, I kept thinking about something that came up in conversation, one of the inevitabilities of starting to move and shift toward your biggest dreams… disappointing others.

From the day we are born we are surrounded by all kinds of people imagining all the amazing things we can be and do with our lives. We grow up influenced (whether we like it or not) by these other people’s ideas and desires for us. And if we are ‘good’ girls and boys, we fulfill our parent’s and family’s (and friend’s and boy/girlfriend’s – you get the drift) dreams for us and make them proud and keep them feeling good and safe and validated… and sometimes this works for us, what they want for us matches what we want for ourselves, but sometimes it doesn’t… and even if we are great at what we do or if we find the ‘perfect’ person that our parents love, sometimes it’s just not feeling amazing for us… we can’t explain it but our heart just isn’t in it, we aren’t inspired, or no matter how much validation our parents/family/friends give us about the great job/partner/whatever, or how responsible we are and how good that is, it’s not filling us with joy…

Sometimes A lot of times, other people have so much of their energy invested in what they want for you that they can’t even imagine you wanting anything different, forget about the possibility of you not being happy with it. {ever heard of this example: parents to child – what do you mean you don’t want to be a (fill in the blank of your family story here)?!} Of course they want you to be happy – having what they want for you – but are you actually happy living the life they’ve imagined for you.

Here’s the thing… if any part of your life isn’t what you are really wanting and dreaming of… in order to start to move toward your own dreams, and start having more of what you are really wanting, and loving, in your own life… you will have to move away from dreams that other people have for you. You will have to disappoint some people. And many times the people we have to disappoint are people who love us.

This can be hard at best. Nearly impossible at worst. Talk about guilt. A lot of people will go their whole lives not having what they really want, what would really make them happy, because they can’t deal with other people being unhappy with them, or they don’t want to hurt anyone… so they sacrifice themselves and their own true happiness for the happiness of others. And since I am a recovering ‘people pleaser’ I really know what I’m talking about here. But at some point, if you’re lucky, your desire to have your own dreams be what you are actually having and experiencing in life far outweighs the possible disappointment other people will feel by you taking steps in another direction – your direction. Letting go of being responsible for other people’s happiness is freeing. But also you have to deal with the energy of it… and let’s be real here, the disappointment other people feel will make you feel guilty, for sure, maybe not on purpose, but it will happen and you have to move through it to get to be able to really have your dreams for you. From where I’m standing though – it’s a small price to pay… and it will pass – both the other people’s disappointment (if they are grown adults who can get over things, and if not – DEFINITELY stop feeling guilty!), and us feeling bad about others feeling disappointed that we are wanting our own big dreams for ourselves.

So the only real question is – how much and how long are you willing to sacrifice your own dreams and happiness to keep other people happy instead?

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