What's the best gift you can give to yourself?
Give yourself the time and space to follow your dreams.
This isn't always an easy world for dreamers. Dreamers are often scorned, mocked, discouraged and shamed. They can be judged harshly by those who don't see the possibilities.
But consider this: What would exist if it had not once been dreamed? Where would humans be, if they did not have the vision to see better ways of doing things?
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
- Albert Einstein
Maybe your dream could improve this world. Maybe it could give you something interesting or fun to do. Maybe it could develop into a passion.
One thing we know for sure is that life is finite. You don't know how much time you have on Earth. Your time, therefore, is precious. Why not spend some time to pursue your dream?
Dream big, dream small. Just let your dream have space in your life, mind and heart.
I used to be afraid to follow my dreams.
I thought I wasn't smart enough.
I thought I didn't have enough talent, money or resources.
I didn't know how to go about doing things unless I was directed by someone else.
I thought I wasn't the kind of person who could do what I wanted to do in life.
I was afraid of failure.
I was afraid of being judged and criticized.
I didn't want to be different, do things differently, and feel the loneliness of being different.
But . . . years of denying and repressing my dreams and desires suffocated my spirit. It led to debilitating depression, anxiety and illness.
I learned that I literally can't live without expressing my true self and following my dreams. So I decided to not allow these fears to rule my life anymore.
Now, following my dreams is my way of life. And I support others to to be creative so that they can discover their own dreams, and live more authentic and fulfilled lives.
Here are 5 tips I have learned along the way, about following your dreams:
1. Protect your dream in the beginning.
When your dream is just an idea brewing in your mind, it is still vulnerable, like a tiny seedling emerging from the soil. It needs to be nurtured and allowed to grow a bit bigger in a safe environment, before it is strong enough to stand up on its own and be shared with the wider world.
Ask yourself: Are your friends and family likely to support your dream?
Sometimes even those who love us and have our best interests at heart, lack the imagination, faith or vision that we have.
Sometimes others don't understand why we would want to take risks, or move out of our comfort zone, for a dream.
Sometimes others don't want us to change, and they might even feel threatened by our pursuit of a dream.
Sometimes it's better to keep our dreams private until they grow bigger and we become stronger and more sure of ourselves.
Don't allow anyone else to crush your dreams!
You can write about your dreams in a secret journal, blog or sketchbook. Cherish your dream and hold it close at first.
2. Find evidence that your dream can become a reality.
You can search on the Internet or talk to people, and find others who are pursuing a similar dream. This will give you proof that it is possible to make your dream come true. This will give you more motivation and energy to devote yourself to your dream.
3. Find your community.
If you don't have people in your life who support you to follow your dream, find people who do.
Find other dreamers and doers who can give you encouragement and practical advice. Find people who you can trust, who believe in your abilities and who can help you. You can find people in your local area and online.
Try looking for organizations, clubs and networking groups in your areas of interest. Get active in your community and volunteer your time. You will learn a lot and you will make valuable connections. Ask people you know for recommendations. You can even ask an industry leader or respected community organizer for an informational interview. Most people, especially those who are active in these types of groups, are very willing to share their knowledge and help someone who is less experienced.
When you associate with people who are following their dreams, then following your own dreams will seem more normal and achievable to you.
When I wanted to become an artist, I sought out professional artist organizations. When I wanted to start a business, I sought out entrepreneurial networking groups. I was happily surprised, in my 30s and starting out as a beginner in these fields, to find acceptance and support.
4. Be your own best friend.
Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Be gentle with yourself.
When you are blazing your own trail and doing something new, things won't always work out the way you had hoped. It doesn't necessarily mean that your dream isn't meant to be fulfilled.
When you fail and fall, as you are bound to do, pick yourself up and keep going. Sometimes missing the mark means that you need to re-direct your course, not give up and stop altogether.
You need to treat yourself with greater kindness than you ever have before.
Acknowledge your own strength, courage and curiosity, for trying something new.
5. Celebrate your dream.
The dream journey is a sacred gift. How lucky are you to live a life in which you can dream, and take the steps to make it a reality?
For a thought to stay in your mind and grow into a dream, and compel you to take inspired action, it must have great power and beauty.
Each day brings you a little bit closer to making your dream come true. Stay aware of your progress as you move forward and celebrate your dream gradually taking shape.
Allow yourself to be awed by the life of your dream, both as it lives and expands in your imagination, and as it becomes manifested in the physical world.