How to define your dreams after the world has beaten them out of you.

Photo of author
Written By Brie

I swear I have a love/hate relationship with run-on sentences, bad spelling and grammatical errors because I’m a pen & paper kinda girl.

I’ve been journaling for years and that’s not likely to change any time soon. It means that as the words come out onto paper I have no editor, no spell check or grammar cares.

In the 30+ years, I’ve written more for myself than anything or one else. And while it’s rarely been a weekly thing let alone daily, I have at times written massive amounts of text in a short time span (24 hours or so).

and I’ve always told stories.

Fictions that functioned in my head. I made whole worlds up. And befriended many of the inhabitants, often in an effort to ease my own loneliness.  I also read a lot of the same thing.

So so when I say one of my childhood dreams was to be an author, it’s not likely to be much of a surprise to you.

However, I can remember a number of times growing up when my stories were something I was made to feel shame over.

Now im not talking about when I used my stories in negative ways like making up stuff about other kids (which is wrong)!

I’m talking about when I wrote my first chapter in a novel and wanted to share it with the class but the teacher thought it was “inappropriate”. So I got sent to sit back down.
I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I do remember that I never shared anything with the class after that.
This is the kind of “beating” most people’s dreams take on a daily basis.

Looking back I’m fairly certain that this teacher didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. By that point, I had already figured out that most adults didn’t think that was a feasible career.

I got the same thing when I spoke about music or singing, and heaven forbid I mention being a stay at home Mom.
But it I got encouragement and support when I talked about being a Veterinarian.
So guess what?

I told people I wanted to be a vet. Yup, I sold out. (Kinda)

It’s funny how the circle seems to be coming back around now.

If you’ve given up on your childhood dreams you may not remember what they are now. Or they may have grown up alongside you into something new you hadn’t thought of yet.

Most of us are taught to conform to other people’s expectations, often we are molded and shaped to pursue something that leaves us cold and empty inside.

If that is the case, I highly suggest you dig deep and find out what your dreams are now.

Life is short, and it’s not a competition we can win. You don’t arrive at the end and get to say “I won” with some kind of happy dance to celebrate it.

There is no right or wrong way to go about pursuing your dreams or the life you wish to live.

Life is a process, that means sometimes our dreams grow and change. Others end up being left by the roadside, casualties of the domestication growing up process.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that a life without a dream is living a lie.

We are not ourselves if we if we don’t have dreams, we don’t have any hope.  Dreams are the product of hope, hope for a better day, a new life, a new joy.

So when you’ve been taught you don’t deserve these what do you do?

first, I would suggest figuring out what your dreams are now.

It’s a good place to start with going back to anything you wished for in childhood but be aware that they may no longer do it for you.
From there cultivate curiosity about EVERYTHING, and I mean everything.

Our dreams can grow and develop with us. Life experiences bring us new and exciting opportunities some of which will plant the seeds of new dreams, that we can nurture to develop/grow.

It’s not like the dreams of our childhood are the ONLY dreams we will ever have. But they are a great source of inspiration when we start looking.

Second – READ, Anything and everything you can.

Believe me, if it’s a topic you don’t like it will be hard to read.

Put that one down & try something else!

If you aren’t interested don’t waste time, cause it won’t inspire you to where you want to go.

But if it is interesting it could be leading you down the path you need to find out what your dreams are now.  You just never know.

Third – ask people what they think you’re good at

I’ve seen it before where people incorporated little pieces of their dreams into their life in the “socially acceptable” way.  This tend to mean they get really good at it in the process.

Fourth – watch what you are doing when you are happiest.

I’m not talking I-Have-a-smile-on-my-face-but-it-doesn’t-reach-my-eyes type happy. I’m talking I-can’t-help-but-smile-and-feel-it-in-my-toes kind of happy.

We are looking for something that sparks joy in your day
Something you look forward to
constantly make time for
and love doing/being/or what ever it is with you.
You don’t do this to make others happy, you do it to me YOU HAPPY!

Fifth – Trust Yourself to know

When the right thing comes along you will know it.  Maybe not right away, but listen for that soft prompting in your heart that says “Me, this is ME”.  It can take some serious attention to yourself when you try to define your dreams again, and if you don’t trust yourself to listen to your heart you could miss the nudge you need.

Sixth – Give yourself TIME

Part of defining your dreams is walking the healing path.  To some extent we have all suffered from negative situations.  I don’t need to know all the details of your life to know that you have had to deal with some not respecting your dreams.  If you have completely abandoned them (or think you have) it can take time before they come back, but they will.  You just need patience and curiosity to get there.

And I believe you can do it, after all, I just told you my story, and that was my dream 😉 so go out and catch yours.

Oh, P.S. you don’t have to shake up your whole life to live some big dream if you want to, by all means, go for it.
But be open to the small dreams that bring you joy while nudging your heart as well.