Self-Care Sunday: Self-Care Sunday: Dreams Deferred Part 2
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
When I decided to follow my dreams (I know, it sounds cliché doesn't it?), I knew it would be hard. I knew I would have road blocks. I knew there would be failures along the way. But over the last two weeks I have called everything into question. My stream of consciousness included these incessant questions:
Am I crazy for doing this?
Have I lost my mind?
Why didn't I start this sooner?
Am I too old?
Do I really ever want to start a family?
What if I get too old to start a family?
How will I pay my rent?
What if I fail?
If you are a fellow dreamer and/or entrepreneur you have probably had this crisis a million times. You are wondering if those who snicker at dreamers are right: we're just a crazy bin of loonies. So I started complaining, even in prayer. I started to gripe about how difficult this all was. Thankfully my prayers were answered with encouragement. I was saved from my downward spiral by a series of quotes and words this week that affirmed my dreams and encouraged me exponentially.
A few weeks ago I wrote part one of Dreams Deferred to state how delaying your dreams affects your health. This week I want to discuss how following your dreams affects your health. Following your dreams can trigger self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, a quitter's mentality, and all of the feelings that are counter-productive in fulfilling your dreams. On top of that, it seems that there are a bunch resources that will tell you to abandon your dreams as well as many resources to encourage you to follow your dreams, but hardly anything that tells you how to stay the course during the journey. It's no wonder people abandon their dreams. They indeed become "frozen with snow," forgotten, minimized, and even scorned.
Everyone romanticizes following dreams, but hardly anyone warns you of the often infinite and painful literal and figurative costs or sacrifices you have to make on a daily basis. No one warns you how lonely you will feel at times. No one tells you how misunderstood you will become. No one tells you how much some of your friends, family, and even those closest too you will seemingly abandon you or chastise you for not spending more time with them. We all know that dreams are difficult to follow, but no one really talks about the pain of following them. It's no wonder people become discouraged. When you are constantly surrounded by rejection and failure, interspersed with glimmers of success, it can be depressing (and lead to depression).
I spent most of the day listening to Les Brown, a motivational speaker, who encourages people to follow their dreams. I learned some very important nuggets that I want to share with those struggling with warding off feelings of defeat.
- Failures are inevitable, but remember that they bring you closer to success. Brown says to "Make 'no' your vitamin. Every time someone says no, it brings you one more step to a yes." When a reporter asked Thomas Edison how it felt to fail 1,000 times before successfully inventing the light bulb, he said "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb is an invention with a 1,000 steps." Use failures as stepping stones, not as roadblocks. Brown also points out that you discover so much about yourself during the process toward success. Embrace what you learn. Use failure as your motivational fuel.
- "If you are casual about your dreams, your dreams will become a casualty." If you simply stop providing nourishment to your dreams, they will die out. You must cultivate your dreams with encouragement, motivation, creativity. When you're discouraged, don't settle with minimizing your dreams, fight to be re-inspired.
- "Someone's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." You will have people who bad mouth you along your journey, or you may even have residual negative opinions that people have said to you over the years. By dwelling on those negative opinions, you have no room for the powerful positive ones. And don't forget your own negative opinions of yourself or your dreams. You must nip those in the bud as soon as they start to grow. They are weeds that will ultimately strangle and suffocate your goals.
- "You're an uncommon breed." Recognize that by you even making the attempt to pursue your dreams, you have already succeeded over all of those who abandoned their dreams a long time ago and have become complacent where they are. Brown said that people prefer known hells to unknown heavens. If you have never been one to settle, you are set apart. It doesn't make you better than anyone else. You have simply chosen to live your life outside of the box. Not everyone is going to recognize it or even know what that means.
- "If you died today, what dreams would die with you?" So many people die with unlived dreams. How awesome would it be to say that you truly lived? How awesome would it be to say that you truly gave it your all?
Self-care becomes critical while you are following your dreams. Without self-care your dreams will loose their ability to soar, and may stop flying altogether. As I always say, remember to make time for rest and seek professional help if necessary.
The Body Buffet creates handmade artisan soap, shampoo, conditioners, spa bars, beard care, body wash and more for Baltimore, the DMV, and beyond. We have been creating conditioning skin-loving, hair-loving, since 2009. Visit our shop at www.thebodybuffet.com. Marquita Johl is the soaper-in-chief and a self-care advocate. She has been crafting soap for eleven years.