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Dreams. We all have them, right?
Famous writer. Rich actor. Respected doctor. Accomplished scientist. Successful parent. Seasoned Traveller. Renowned artist. Popular Youtuber. World-class chef. Talented musician.
As children we’re full of dreams and hopes for the future. If we’re lucky, the adults did their best to encourage us, but even the not-so-lucky among us have dreams and aspirations.
Mine was to be a writer. At one point I also wanted to be an archaeologist and weather presenter, but becoming a writer was always there at the top of the list.
As a child I remember coming home to the electronic typewriter my parents brought me and endlessly writing horror stories in the style of R.L Stine. I also wrote the occasional silly story of household objects coming to life and getting revenge on me for my clumsiness. In another, my beloved dog, Sandy, could talk and we saved our home from aliens.
My younger cousin would read my stories and beg for the next part, but I rarely finished them because I was soon onto the next story that was writing itself in my head. I even won a few awards at school for a few of my stories which I read out in class, as well as created a few non-fiction pieces which gained the attention of teachers.
Then I got older and doubt started creeping in. I was bullied relentlessly and had lots of other adversities going on in my life. Before I knew it, I was telling myself I was no good – that I’d never amount to anything.
This pattern continued into adulthood. The dream of becoming a writer remained as strong as ever but I’d had it drilled into my head that I was being unrealistic and that the world was such a terrible place that I should just keep my head down and work so I could keep a job.
I studied a foundation degree in computing which I had no real interest in because the people around me drilled into my head that I needed a good job or I was going to go nowhere.
I was exhausted, developed chronic illness, and had no sense of identity. Still, I carried on writing in private, never showing my work to anyone, not even my close relationships. The one book I did share was called ‘The Big Blue Book’ and was a collection of all the silly clumsy things I’d ever done. Friends and partners would read it and laugh until tears were streaming down their faces, then I’d stash it back in the attic along with every dream I had.
Only when my life, relationships and jobs started to break down did I realise something was dreadfully wrong and started on the path to get myself out of the despair I was in.
What seemed to be working for everyone else wasn’t working for me.
Seemed is the key word here because I came to learn that most people are living lives in survival mode, worlds apart from their original intentions.
I started reading self-help books by Susan Forward, Hal Elrod, and Francine Jay (who introduced me to minimalism!). Then I read heaps more.
The more I read, the more I understood that my beliefs and lessons learnt in life up to this point were completely false. I believed that people who made lots of money must be bad, that nobody got where they were without hurting others along the way, that I was destined to be stepped on by the world and the sooner I accepted that, the better. That I was less-than human because I loved who I loved.
Just how it took me years to declutter my hoard, it took me years to rewrite those beliefs and world views.
Now I realise that the people earning a lot of money often weren’t evil and had simply put in the work and passion to get to where they were. Often, they had come from lives of abuse, deprivation and poverty.
There were authors out there who, just like me, had been taught they weren’t good enough or to ‘keep their heads down’ only to become successfully published later in their lives or to make a business out of the message they had to share with the world.
Then there were the hoarders, just like me, who believed that physical possessions were the way to happiness and contentment. This blog is a result of un-learning that message.
I wondered how many more people were settling for far less than what they were capable of.
Since reading tonnes of self-help books, receiving therapy, studying to become a therapist myself, becoming minimalist, creating this blog, and starting a Youtube channel, the lessons have been endless – some taking more time than others to digest.
In fact, I’m still learning and always will be. Such is the nature of personal growth.
When you spend a lifetime being conditioned to be a certain way, you can lose sight of your true self. This loss can manifest in many different ways including (but not limited to) chronic physical illness, broken relationships, and depression.
Quite often, we accept this as ‘our lot in life’ but the reality is much deeper and these beliefs often stem from upbringing, trauma, or other events which shape our thoughts and beliefs.
The challenge is changing those beliefs and dusting the cobwebs off the dreams and potential that has likely been there since childhood or early adulthood.
We all have potential. Every.Single.One.Of.Us.
We all have dreams. What’s yours?