I don’t need to look far for examples of unfinished projects, unfulfilled desires, dreams put on hold or erased altogether - what’s the point anyway, right? I don’t think anyone of us has to look anywhere but at their to-do list to discover that most of what we set out to achieve gets lost in the crowd of things we would rather do or things we simply have to do, so that we can keep up some kind of status quo.
Who are you rooting for?
The one thing I know about giving up on our ideas is that, in the purely fundamental way, it is the most powerful representation of self betrayal. We are great at making sure deadlines are met at work, we know how to solve everyone else’s problems, we have advice, often quite useful, for those seeking relief from their pains, emotional troubles or simple and plain fed-up-ness (is that a word?) with life.
But we don’t apply this compassionate approach when dealing with the self. Oh, no. The self gets all the beating - you are not good enough, you are too lazy, you are boring and uninventive, you are not going to even be noticed in the sea of others with similar talents… you are a joke !
Can you imagine how you’d feel if a colleague at work, whom you single-handedly selected to be an advisor on your troubles, told you that?
Could you imagine telling someone running to you for help, anything resembling this tone, which you use when talking to yourself daily? I am pretty convinced that you wouldn’t allow anyone else to treat you with such disrespect and judgement.
It appears we really are our own worst critics. We have become so used to it that we don’t notice it anymore.. We focus so much of our attention on what others see when they look at us, on masterfully crafting the persona that will win us some points with strangers on social media, that we abandon ourselves. And we don’t even know it.
The idea of giving up on ourselves might seem excessive - but it’s not. Yes, you still take care of your body, dress it, get it to work on time… but you have forgotten the meaning of what you are doing. And without meaning and some kind of purpose life stops being exciting. Here comes the autopilot mode. We all start looking alike, speaking in the same manner, eat the same foods…
Are your dreams alive?
Since I can remember I always loved music. I sang all the time, I begged my parents to sign me up for singing lessons and, to their credit, they did. But we never really connected on how important it was to me - they thought they would pay for the lessons, and I could do whatever I wanted with the music.
It didn’t work out that way - I sang and I sang well, but I lacked persistence, self-belief and grit. No support was offered in this area, because my parents didn’t quite realise how much it was needed. I ended up giving up on singin and pursued a plethora of other interests instead.
Yet, nothing ever fed my soul as much as music did. I convinced myself that my only dream is dead. I spent years feeling like I have nothing else of value to offer. I made random choices - it doesn’t matter what I do next, right? - it’s not going to fulfil me, it’s not going to be enough…
If you think you missed out on an opportunity of your life, if you think that ship has sailed and you are still here, standing on the shore, looking into the distance wondering whether it will ever be happy without you… Think again.
Everything happens exactly as it should. Why? Because it does. You are still here, you have learnt so much about lack of satisfaction, dealing with emotions of loss and confusion, you have grown, my friend. Now, maybe exactly now, you are ready to create something extraordinary for yourself. Don’t waste any more time longing for that dream that has abandoned you, because…
Here comes the twist - life is full of exciting possibilities. The only requirement is that you have to choose to participate. You have got to show up for your sparks of inspiration - what was that idea that made your heart skip a beat last week? Don’t wait, do something about it.
Action causes reaction.
“Follow your bliss and the doors will open where there were no doors before” - I read while flipping through my notebook. Joseph Campbell you were so right.
To truly embrace the possibility of change and rediscover our innate longings, we must dive into action, with our arms wide open and our eyes full of excitement. There is magic in taking a deep dive into the unknown. And what I mean by that is taking a chance on ourselves. Do not only the things you want to do, do the things you can do and see them through till the end. There is power in arriving at the finish line and there definitely is learning along the way.
If like me, you think that your only dream has slipped away, that there is nothing else that could spark your imagination, stand up for yourself. Allow yourself to believe that there is more than one creative bone in your body, that there are plans that you could make, adventures you could take, and dreams you will discover while busy doing the things that seemingly weren’t good enough.
You don’t yet know what you will discover on your next adventure, you don't yet know who you will meet, you don’t know who you will become. So allow yourself to be tempted by the promise of a better future, stay humble and grateful for the opportunities that will arise. And they will.
Motivation - not required.
Do you think you will start one day, maybe that perfect morning when motivation strikes ? That beautiful morning when you wake up knowing it all and being so confident that it will be impossible to avoid your greatness anymore.
Let me give you some news here - that day ain’t coming.
You don’t wait for motivation to finish your work projects, you don’t wait for motivation when your best friend needs help redecorating her house after the neighbour’s leaky pipe flooded their apartment…
The idea of waiting for the “perfect moment” is our way of postponing taking responsibility for our outcomes.
The fun part is that whether you consciously take charge of what shows up in your life or let it just appear while you look the other way - you are still responsible for all your tomorrows.
Not taking a stand for yourself is a choice. Talking down at yourself is a choice. Judging, worrying, complaining is a choice. Giving up is a choice - at the end of the day it grants you the rewards you crave - be it an evening on the sofa or not having to expose your imperfect side, the side that could be working towards something new.
Achieving your dreams is easy.
In fact, anything that you can do, is easy. I am not saying that it won’t cost you tears, sweat and sleepless nights - it might. I am not saying that it will be seamless and perfect from the get-go. But if you have the ability and possibility to do something - it’s easy. It’s not impossible, it’s not too difficult, it’s not bigger than you. It is easy and you have the power to prove it.
It is easy to do the things you want to do. But it is even easier not to do them.
The good news? It’s not the circumstance that decides, the choice is yours.
Say something, I’m giving up on you.
Every time you betray your inner desire, dream or idea, the belief that you can achieve, that you are allowed to fail and equally, that you have a chance at success, dies a little more.
Review the way you talk to yourself and give yourself a chance for a more creative dialogue with the aspiring part of who you are. Take chances, make mistakes, commit to change. Follow through this time. The time will pass anyway. Where do you want to be in a year, two, five? Let the time pass or use it and ride the waves with it.
All it takes is one little try.
Yes, one step is enough. One difficult conversation with your boss is enough.. One dive outside of your comfort zone is enough. For now.
The more you venture out and follow your inner voice (no - not the one telling you to quit, the one which squeals with excitement every time you get off the sofa) the more you will be surprised by how much you can achieve. You will be delighted with how it makes you feel and most of all you will discover new dreams, new reasons to try, new wins...
So pick up your guitar, pain brushes, camera, university book - mark some time in your calendar for when you are going to take care of that activity that you know will make your life better in the long run - and just do it. Then take a deep breath and enjoy the mild, sweet taste of comfort and victory. You did it. And the best thing about it is - if you can do it once, you can do it again.
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