Deep down, we all have a dream that is going unfulfilled. For some of us, it is a dream that is destined to remain unrequited. We have left it too late and have other responsibilities and commitments. Perhaps it is a goal that requires a level of physical fitness that we lost a long time ago.
For others, it may be a dream that feels out of reach. A fallacy that would be nice but ultimately is unrealistic to us. Or at least compared to our stable 9-5.
I have decided to be one of those slightly unhinged people that take the phrase ‘what if it works?’ and clings to it for dear life! While I haven’t gone to the extreme of quitting my job to dedicate all of my time and effort to the dream, I am pinning a lot of my future financial stability on this panning out the way that I hope it will! My life at the moment is the definition of burning the candles at both ends and my eyes are hating me for it!
The thing about following dreams that don’t get the spotlight that it deserves is the toll that it can take on your mental health. More often than not, the stories of dream followers that we hear are the successes. They will touch on the difficult times, but they never elaborate, they never say just how difficult it was to keep going.
I do understand that. It makes sense to not want to dwell on the negatives of a journey when you are just celebrating reaching the happy ending. There comes a point where we have to start being honest though.
Don’t give up – you are good enough!
One of my greatest strengths is my relentless optimism, I travel through life staunchly believing that everything will work out and it will all be alright in the end. Relentless optimism is also one of my greatest weaknesses. It is such an intrinsic coping mechanism for me that I cannot handle it when it falters.
On occasions when self-doubt pops into my head unprompted and bypasses the optimism, I have a tendency to catastrophise. I’m wasting my time. I’m not good enough to be one of the successful ones. I’m delusional, I’m not special. I should stay in my lane. I should delete my work and forget that I ever tried.
These thoughts come thick and fast once they’ve started and if I’m honest, they are pretty difficult to deal with. They directly contradict my main coping mechanism and leave me with nowhere else to turn. It is a lot easier, for most of us, to believe the voices that berate and diminish us.
It is easier to believe that we are not good enough, that we are not and will not be special than it is to keep on pushing, to not give up. The thing with self-doubt is, it seeps out further than just our goals and dreams. Once it takes hold, it can destroy every part of our lives. What starts as a niggling doubt quickly spirals into an overwhelming feeling of worthlessness and desperation.
This, I imagine, is a common scenario for dreamers to find themselves in. I also imagine it is a time when a lot of incredible people give up and that makes me sadder than almost anything. To think of all the beautiful, heartbreaking, thoughtful art that has been thrown away because it was poisoned with self-doubt and the artist didn’t know that that was part of it.
They didn’t know that everyone who has ‘made it’ have been through the same thing. They didn’t know that their imposter syndrome was simply that. The world could have been an even more beautiful place if we only spoke about it more.
Don’t ignore the rough patches in your journey! Don’t negate to tell others that your success didn’t come easy and talk about it openly! And please, don’t give up on something beautiful because you think you aren’t good enough to create it. If not you, then who?