Have you got a dream? I don’t mean the sleepy kind but the dreams that are plans for your life. Something that you want to achieve. It might be a career goal, a desire for a particular house or car or other possession. What is it?
Tara, writer of www.wegotreal.com, wrote out her list of 100 dreams to share with us. Included in those were things like visiting South America or Europe or Asia; travel for a year with her family overseas; read 1-2 books a month; perform in a community theatre production and many more. Perhaps some of these coincide with your own dreams. Personally, I want a Lamborghini. Preferably a Gallardo or a Huracán, but we shall see what happens, eh?
So you might be thinking that dreams are a strange choice of topic for a mental health blog. It certainly seemed quite strange for me, but there is logic to my madness. It all started with a tweet. As coincidence would have it, this tweet:
— Nicholas Baar (@nicholasabaar) June 6, 2018
It’s good food for thought, isn’t it? After all, how many people like this do we actually know? If we’re being honest, we know quite a few, don’t we? They spend a lot of time telling other people how to live their lives, what they should and shouldn’t be doing. But are they actually living?
The stereotypical and most obvious example would be parents. Some parents insist that their children follow a specific career or educational path. They have to go to uni, they must train to be something majorly successful such as a doctor or a lawyer. Anything else is substandard, not good enough. Alternatively, they believe that their child should enter the family business. It doesn’t matter whether or not the child wants to, that business has been in the family for years and the child should follow in their parents’ footsteps no matter what.
Does this sound familiar?
Living Our Lives
Now those examples I gave before are perhaps a minority case. I don’t really know how many people actually tell their children what they should and shouldn’t do in terms of their dreams. My parents were always good at letting me make my own mind up, decide for myself what I wanted to do. Not everyone is like that, though.
How many people tell us how we should live our lives? Be it simple things such as how we should manage our daily stresses or how we should raise our children, do our work, all sorts of things like that? Worse, how many people try and crush our dreams, labelling them as insignificant, unobtainable or as just plain stupid?
A scarier question, though…is are we guilty of doing that?
That’s right, I asked if we – that includes me as well as you – are guilty of telling other people how to live their lives or belittling their dreams. It’s not something we will want to admit to…but I can’t help but wonder whether or not we’ve done it.
In truth, though, I think we’re all a little guilty of getting so wrapped up in what we think we should do and what we think others should do that we don’t really live our lives. We hold ourselves to the dreams and standards that others set for us and we don’t really do what we love. It can be a daunting prospect, though, following those dreams. But does that mean we shouldn’t do it?
Chasing the Dreams
So what do we do? Instead of telling others how they should live their lives, holding them back from their dreams – whether that’s by trying to put them on a particular path or by saying things like “I don’t think that’s a good idea, how can you afford it?” etc – we should focus on our own dreams.
I’ll give you an example: this website. When my mental health started to spiral and I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I felt a calling to start a mental health support website. I knew that it was going to be difficult, as we have running costs and it takes time to create the content, but I felt it was something important to do. As a result, I’m building my own business out of this, so that I can bring about the awareness that is needed for people struggling with mental health conditions while making a living at the same time. After all, it’s what I love doing. I love helping the people who come to us needing help, I love raising the awareness and changing the lives of people who know nothing or next to nothing about mental health.
But it comes with costs.
As a result, there are people out there who disapprove. Some people believe I shouldn’t be trying to make money from this – even though it’s all through donations that people are willingly pledging. I’m not making people pay me for what I do. I give it away for free and accept donations and pledges of support from others. Others believe I should be in a job that is more secure, that pays a flat or set rate. The trouble with that is that it would stifle the website because I wouldn’t be able to put the work in that I do.
So what is the right way?
I firmly believe that this is what I am meant to be doing. This is my calling, my dream, my one aim in life. No matter what other people think, no matter what they say, it is my responsibility to chase my dream. No one else can tell me what I should be doing with my life. After all, it is my life and it is mine to live.
So chase those dreams!
Who knows where they will take you!
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