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March 25, 2014

Tips on Nurturing Your Own Dream & Dealing with Dream-Crushers. ~ Barry John Johnson

Photo: Jan Myhrehagen via Pixoto

In chasing our dreams, it is great to have support, but it is common for “Dream-Crushers” to be waiting in the wings, and sometimes these “Dream-Crushers” are the people closest to you.

When we are living our truth, and chasing a dream, our actions may sometimes conflict with what our loved ones feel is best for us. Our actions might defy practicality and social convention. To them it may seem that a “pipedream” is being pursued at the risk of “normal” milestones like safe, consistent employment with health benefits, marrying and having kids, owning a house and saving for retirement.

Certainly, living one’s truth and dreams and matching these social conventions are not mutually exclusive at all. I believe we can have it all, but putting aside one’s dreams for what’s socially acceptable can be a classic conflict, hard enough without active voices of non-support and Dream-Crushers.

In living my truth and dream of becoming a writer I received a lot of support from my friends who know me well. Encouraging words, to say the least, and direct support in other ways. While from quarters of my own biological family, excepting my elderly mother, not so much support.

I announced that I would be taking a sabbatical, and jumping off the grid to focus on writing and yoga. I had already taken two month-long yoga retreats in recent years. Yet this sabbatical was to be for an extended period that I had financially prepared myself for.

The words that circulated were: “There’s something wrong with Barry.” There was something wrong with me because I had prepared for and was leaving town to pursue my dreams? I would being doing yoga every day and writing, things that I love!

I laugh at this now but at some point the stark contrast between people who gave support and those who didn’t really struck me as interesting.

I presumed that others must surely have had the same experience and that still more will face it.

I recalled someone studying to be a traditional midwife who was told by family that this was not practical vocation as she should have been married already and that she had no retirement account.

I thought: Why do we ever not support someone pursuing a dream as long someone is not hurting their self or others? Why would we ever want to be part of crushing someone’s dream?

I concluded that in the best case scenario, Dream-Crushers are concerned that the dream seeker is harming their self in some way. The vision of harm usually has to do with viewing the dream seeker through the lenses of practicality and social convention as well as a strong presence of simply not being able to relate to and understand the dream seeker.

Tips on Dealing With Dream-Crushers and Nurturing Your Own Dreams:

I believe that dream seekers need to have awareness of the dynamics of non-support should they encounter it and to basically expect to encounter some Dream-Crushers along the way.

There needs to be recognition that varying from our truth and varying from social expectations can both cause anxiety and that a key task is discerning between the two.

Know that non-support can trigger doubts about pursuing our dreams. Instead of wavering and folding into the doubt, we can use it to bolster and fine tune our dreams.

There can be an unconscious fear of ostracism by not complying with family or social standards. Ostracism can trigger primal survival fears as we are social beings and in ancient times being cut off from one’s social group literally evoked a threat to survival.

Acknowledging that Dream-Crushers may simply not understand you can be helpful. They know not what they do. In this case the best response from a non-supporter could be: “I don’t understand what you are doing, but good luck.”

Be with, and spend more time with, Dream Supporters and Dream Nurturers. Ask supporters for feedback on your plans if you desire as it will be given in a positive context.

In certain relationships, calling Dream-Crushers on their actions can be helpful. Simply saying “It doesn’t feel like I am being supported in pursuing my dream,” could perhaps arouse a different perspective.

Consider the source of the non-support. If these are very practical folks governed by convention, you know their approach to life which may simply be different from yours.

Know that, bottom-line, you don’t really need the approval of others to pursue your dreams. It is nice to have, but not mandatory. Chances are, however, there will be those who do understand and support you.

Stay away from wanting to succeed simply to prove Dream-Crushers wrong. That may happen, but a more positive motivator is that you are simply living your truth, being who you are.

Wish your non-supporters well in whatever their pursuits and dreams are. Make a practice of Dream Nurturance with any and all you know.

Know that you have the role of Chief Dream Nurturer for your own dreams.

Remember that the success of pursuing your dream can be found in the pursuit itself versus any end result. Making it out of the gate and not being dissuaded by naysayers takes tremendous courage and this can be a great triumph in itself.

Lastly, meditate every day. Use the mantra “Let me hear my truth.” This can help bring clarity and discernment to what our truth is. We ultimately know our truth. Our gut and heart will let us know. The meditation just creates a conduit for communication.

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Editorial Assistant: Emily Bartran/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Jan Myhrehagen via Pixoto

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Christine Howard Apr 4, 2014 1:28pm

Barry, although I miss you at our Writer's Group I support you doing what you feel is right for you and following your dream. Do come visit when you feel you need some different inspiration

Tara Ewashy Mar 31, 2014 1:18pm

Very well said. You have managed to put a very positive spin on behaviour that I often think stems from fear and envy: "If I can't do what I love, why the hell should you?" And thanks for the comment about seeking success to satisfy others – this is one I keep forgetting, having spent my whole life trying to prove myself. And BTW, I love your bio: "worked as a high level bureaucrat until he decided not to anymore." It really can be as simple as that, can't it? Kudos.

Dr Nikki Mar 26, 2014 11:31pm

It's so important to remind people to live their truth and follow their heart! Keep inspiring!

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Barry John Johnson

Barry John Johnson is a counselor in San Diego, California. He used to work as a high level bureaucrat until he decided not to anymore. He likes helping people. He also likes meditation, writing, intuitive arts and independent spiritual studies. Visit him on his website or on Facebook.