It seems like sometimes the people that you love the most can absolutely crush your dreams.
Why is that? Why is it that your parents, the people who brought you into the world, can make you feel like a loser? Why is it that your lover, the closest person in your life, can doubt you when you need them most? Why is it that your friends will question you and roll their eyes, when you open yourself up to them?
I’m going to answer these questions with two simple truths. One or the other will surprise you.
One is that they love you, and they’re afraid for you to fail. The second is that they are conflicted or jealous, and don’t want you to succeed.
I know what you’re thinking. So one side doesn’t want me to succeed, and the other is waiting for me to fail.
Bear with me for a moment.
When I went away to college, I had dreams of becoming a writer. I knew that in some way, shape or form, that my life would take that path. And so, in my utterly decisive fashion, I declared my major to be “Creative Writing” the first week of freshman year. Not too long after, I had a long conversation with my father, who grilled me about my choice.
“Do writers make a lot of money?”
“What kind of profession is writing?”
“Is that really a career, or is that something you do on the side?”
I didn’t have a good answer for most of these questions. The truth was I didn’t know. All I knew is that I’d been obsessed with pretty stationery since I could write a letter. As a teenager, I’d spend a little extra of my Old Navy paycheck on the more expensive decorative notepads and really cute ballpoint pens. I could easily stay in the house and read, while kids played outside in the summer. I was a true word nerd, and I couldn’t wait to pen my first novel. Here’s what my father told me…
“You need to choose something more stable, like law or medicine.”
“You need to research some career options and do what makes a lot of money.”
“I don’t want you to pursue a dream that’s going to send you to the poor house.”
That’s not what I wanted either. It was then that I began to doubt my decisions and the path that I was taking. My father was right, wasn’t he? I couldn’t go roaming through life trying to do what felt good all the time. I had to do the right thing to ensure I had a great future. Confused and unsure, and feeling quite immature, I changed my major about two-thrree times after that, hopelessly trying to figure out how to become interested in subjects that put me to sleep.
Now I don’t want to criticize my father because he’s also an incredible person. Sometimes he worked two jobs to take care of his family. Not to mention, he always comes through when I need him.
You see, my father comes from a tough upbringing, in which as a kid sometimes his mother and his siblings would be homeless on the streets. He doesn’t talk about it much, but I know that this still affects him in ways he isn’t consciously aware of. Stability and safety mean a lot to him. And as noble as that quality is, there is a major drawback.
When you’re constantly searching out paths that lead to the most money and when you’re constantly searching for assurances in a world where there are no guarantees, then the one most certain outcome is that you’re headed toward despair.
Your dreams aren’t circumstantial. They’re a part of who you are, and a divine guidance to show you who you’re meant to be. Dreams are supposed to be big, and audacious and a little uncomfortable. They may make the people around you uncomfortable as well. It can even make them afraid for you. Here’s something that your loved ones may not completely understand:
So when someone you care for is giving you advice, they can have only one of two true motives. One is that they love you and they want you to stay safe. And yes to a certain degree, they fear that you may fail.
The other less attractive option is that they fear that you will be successful. Believe it or not, sometimes the truth is that people don’t want to see you succeed. So they’ll confront and criticize you and make you doubt yourself. But here’s what you should know.
When someone tells you that you can’t do something, it’s more likely a reflection of the limiting beliefs they have about themselves.
You see if you’re successful, it’s forces them to be aware of where they’re not living up to their true potential. Your success is a mirror and some people don’t like the reflection staring back.
Don’t worry if they don’t believe. Stop asking for their opinions. Find ways to cultivate enough belief for the both of you.
Don’t worry if they’re uncertain. Find certainty in yourself.
Don’t worry about failure. It’s an obstacle, not the end.
Don’t worry about their blessing. Your dreams are all your own and you don’t need permission. They can share the experience with you, or they can watch from the other side.
Finally, don’t worry if someone you love seems as if they don’t support you.
Love them anyway.
Your eventual success may be the catalyst they need to start believing in themselves.
You could be the spark that lights the fire within them.
So, how do you feel about this? Do you need the blessing of your friends and family before you move forward on your dreams? Please comment below.
Cindi C. Rose is a Lifestyle Design Strategist and the author of Lovely, Brave & Brilliant: A Woman’s Guide to Happiness, Courage & Living the Life You Desire. Her mission is to help people break through fear and limiting beliefs to design exceptional lives. Find her on FB or Twitter or follow her blog for free tips and videos on Lifestyle Design.
Image courtesy of Zak Suhar.