When we are little kids, we aren’t thinking about our fears or obstacles or the risk of failing or our pride. We aren’t thinking about how we want more money or a bigger house or insurance benefits. We aren’t thinking about a significant other or kids and the natural weight that goes along with combining your life with the lives of others. We aren’t wondering if we should be someone other than who we are.
We only know what we like and what we don’t like.
We know what makes us happy and what doesn’t.
We know the things we are good at and the things we struggle with.
I’m convinced that we are more in tune with who we are as young children than we are at almost any other point in our lives. We aren’t wrapped up in all the extra distractions that take us away from the core, not yet at least.
But then we get lost in the school with pressures to be good at everything. Essentially: with everyone trying to make us be like everyone else. We are set up to feel like a failure if we are bad at math, even if we excel at art. Or if we struggle with language arts, the success of acing science gets discounted. We are told to be good at everything, as though that’s what it takes to be successful in life. The energy that could be used towards nurturing our strengths is then overspent on attempting to make all spheres mediocre and up to par with expectations of where we should be to keep up with everyone else.
And life. Life happens. There’s a whole realm of things that can occur in that.
I genuinely believe that we already are who we are meant to be. But sometimes it takes digging through the fluff to discover, or in some cases, reconnect with it.
Ever since I was six years old, I knew I wanted to write stories someday. Thank God for my mom (who to this day remains my biggest cheerleader) and several teachers who saw it and gave me multiple opportunities and encouragement to cultivate it. I always knew what energized me and even when life happened, I never fully let go.
But I do remember when I let fear overtake me. In college, I was accepted into an elite nationwide music program on the east coast for my songwriting. I was so thrilled when I received the acceptance letter that I cried. For external reasons I won’t get into, I backed out two weeks before I was scheduled to attend. Whatever I blamed it on at the time came down to one thing: I was fearful. Scared that I wouldn’t succeed, scared that I couldn’t live up to the expectations, scared that I wasn’t as good as everyone else. It took me several years to ever write again and it may be one of the biggest regrets I have in life.
Fear can hold us back. But basically, that fear is like anything else that blocks us from doing what we were meant to do: they are self-imposed obstacles. They are barricades that we construct labeled with excuses for why we can’t make anything happen because it’s always easier to place the blame on something outside than acknowledging the hard truth inside.
For me, it’s always been a fear of people seeing my real writing, my mind, my heart- all things that I keep fiercely protected with being a natural introvert to boot. It’s why I finally created this page. The excuses have become more exhausting than the truth. Dreams don’t come true if you don’t work towards them and you can only work towards them when putting them out in the universe.
I do realize that not everyone knows what their dreams are or what they would love to do if there was nothing else on the table to consider. But my advice is always the same: think back to what energized you as a kid. What made you happy, what gave you life, what made you feel like you had something that made you stand out? Just for a moment, let yourself dream about what you would do if the expectations disappeared or if money or time or fear wasn’t an issue or if no one else impacted it: your personal strengths considered only, what would you do, who would you be?