Friday, May 09, 2014
When To Give Up On Your Dream
Have you ever given up on a dream? I have.
Expressing myself creatively has always been a passion of mine, but knowing how? For years, it was a struggle. Growing up, the weighty question of, 'what the hell do I want to do when I grow up?' plagued me - and actually felt like a two-tonne weight sitting right on my chest.
I scrambled. Changed my mind. Gave up. Settled. Then I started asking questions, I wanted to 'figure it all out.'
For as long as I could remember, having a camera in my hands and seeing the world through a (literal) lens felt right. And so I dreamt. I dreamt of living life as a photographer. I invested in a camera, lens, and courses. I spent hours upon hours playing around, snapping photos...
Then I gave up. And I was struck with guilt. Until I had this profound realization:
Sometimes, it's okay to give up on your dreams.
I know what you're thinking - doesn't that make me a failure? Doesn't that make me weak? Doesn't that mean I'm a quitter? Shouldn't I put my nose to the ground and just do what needs to be done?
We've become overachievers, wearing 'busy' like a badge. We want to hit every ball out of the park, we want to do it all, do it perfectly, look good while we're doing it, and please everybody else at the same time. What would life look like if we made the transition from pleasing others, doing what we think we "should" do, to pleasing ourselves instead?
Ditch the dream when it doesn't feel right. Period. (Click to Tweet!)
At one point, every bone in your body was committed. Just thinking about living out that dream sparked passion and excitement. The thought of not making it happen just wasn't a possibility - this was it.
Then that little voice speaks up that says, "This doesn't feel right, this isn't what I want."
Often, we push through.
It's what we've been programmed to do. Giving up? No way. I've already committed, I've already spread the word, I'm accountable, I can't walk away now.
Or maybe you're living your dream, but it's just not meshing. Quit now? I couldn't. That would mean I'm a failure, and I'm NOT a failure. Besides, what would everyone think of me then? I can't admit defeat.
Why are you chasing a dream that you don't really want anyway?
Personally, I still love photography. I love being behind the camera, I love capturing life's little moments, and I still get lost in the work of my favourite photographers, captivated by their vision. It was the moments when I thought about launching a business and the long list of what that would entail, where I thought, "I just can't picture myself doing it." When I got really honest with myself, it wasn't what I really wanted. The truth was, at the time, I didn't know what I wanted. Not a clue.
When you let go of what you don't want, you make space for more of what you do.
We all want to live a life that's aligned with who we are - to be happy and live fully.
Commit to living that life - your life.
Stand up for what you really want.
Say no more often.
Know that there will always be more.
And don't look back - the future is always brighter and more exciting than the past.
What are you doing in your life that doesn't light you up? Maybe take the time to step back and re-assess... what feels like an obligation? What are you doing out of habit or fear of the alternative? What can you cut back (or cut out completely)? Snip, snip, snip... let's make more space today, shall we?