So many of us as adult women, especially moms, have just stopped dreaming. It’s like a skill that we’ve lost or something we consider a privilege that we’re not entitled to right now. But dreams are so important.
It’s common around midlife, we buy into that myth that dreams are for other people, younger people or people who have fewer responsibilities to shoulder. It’s really easy for us to think dreams are for those people, but not for us. And we have all kinds of excuses or stories or justifications that we use when we’re talking to ourselves to just explain away why it’s perfectly okay that we’re not dreaming in this chapter.
So let’s look at those first – three of the justifications that I often hear to justify why we’re not dreaming.
- We’re busy. We are way too busy to dream. We’re busy with X and Y and Z, all the things, right? We’re busy with our careers and our kids and taking care of our homes and trying to be good community citizens. We barely have time to think. We would have to take time away from other things to be able to dream. And we don’t really think we’re worth that, right?
- We’re afraid. If we declare a dream and start to pursue it, what if we find out something about our skill, capability, or circumstances that prevent us from being able to make this dream a reality? What if we can’t do it? What if we fail? There’s so much fear that can stop us before we even start. And fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. Because of that fear, we’re so afraid of failure that we won’t even start. We haven’t even gotten out of the starting blocks.
- We’re conditioned not to dream. We have these two narratives that are given to us at every turn. The first is you are supposed to be in service to others – it would be selfish for you to have a dream. How dare you have any of your own dreams when there are so many other people for you to take care of. The second narrative is you should just be grateful for what you already have. Look at your life – the blessings you have. Somehow we’ve been handed the belief that gratitude and dreaming are mutually exclusive. If we have a dream, we’re not being grateful that they’re mutually exclusive.
Those three beliefs can stop us in our tracks. But did you know that dreaming isn’t optional? On the contrary, it’s the life force that moves us forward. Dreams connect us with our why, our big sense of purpose, and help us understand why any of this stuff we’re doing matters. Dreams make life worth living. They kind of, they give us something to chase. They stir our blood. And when we relegate dreams to the realm of childhood, we lose touch with their magic. And we stop being propelled forward by that power of dreams. We’re just going through the motions, and honestly, we’re bored.
If you are out of practice with dreaming, you may need a little bit of a framework to get started again. So here are three things that can help you start dreaming again.
- Give yourself permission to be inspired by others. In other words, turn envy into dreams. You love that woman’s haircut, or you love his job, or you love their beach house, or you are just in awe of their marriage dynamic. Or you want those season tickets. Inspire yourself with your observations of other people. Often we judge our envy and we think it’s a negative emotion. But there’s a real nugget of something powerful in there to be able to ask yourself, what would have to be true for me to have that? How can I build that into my own life? Jot it down.
- Use categories. Sometimes the word “dreams” is just too big and blobby. It doesn’t really give you something specific to grab onto. It doesn’t start your creative juices flowing. So make it more specific. You could have dreams about your physical self, emotional dreams, professional dreams, and spiritual dreams. You could have experiential dreams – things you want to do, adventures you want to have, places you want to go. Maybe you have financial dreams. You can also have dreams that fit into the material category of things that you want to own or possess. These are just a few examples.
- Think in time horizons. Something that often trips up our dreaming is when we think, well that’s not realistic right now. And so we take it off the list. But if you think about time horizons, maybe that thing could be realistic in the next six to 12 months. or maybe the next one to five years. It’s ok to think a little further out, Time horizons can give you some freedom to not censor yourself and to allow things to unfold in their natural time.
So I want you to remember from today, dreams are a life force. They’re not optional. So if you find that you’re kind of stuck, your gears are stuck in the doing chapter, maybe it’s time to kick off another cycle with dreaming. And if you want some of those prompts to help you start dreaming again.
If you want to give yourself permission to prioritize you in this chapter of life, set up some time here to talk to us and see if coaching is right for you.
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