How to Stop Chasing the Wrong Dream

Girl by a River at Sunset

How do you know whether the dream you’re pursuing is your own? Throughout our lives, our goals and desires are strongly influenced by those around us. It is true that not a single one of us becomes who we are in isolation – we are shaped and molded by our experiences with our friends and family, our teachers and bosses, and even strangers with which we chat at a coffee shop. While we always seek to satisfy the expectations of those we love and to walk in the shoes of those we respect, it is important not to lose yourself in the process.

When you’re choosing a path for yourself, are you truly choosing a path for yourself or are you being influenced – either consciously or subconsciously – by those with whom you associate? Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the dreams of others that we forget what really ignites that fire inside of us. They say that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. They also say that the best way to find success is to chase what makes you feel impassioned. So, how do you know what that is?

1. Spend time with yourself – alone.

Rarely does the average person experience true isolation. We are often surrounded by other people both physically and virtually. We’re always connected to other people; forced to change our masks for different settings and environments; presenting ourselves to the world on a nearly 24/7 basis, especially when you factor social media into the equation.

It can be an invigorating experience to empty your senses of all voices except the one that exists inside of you. If you want to see who you truly are, force yourself to face tough questions about who you want to be, and understand your own talents and passions, you need to have time with yourself.

2. Put it on paper.

Take what’s happening inside your mind and put it on paper. I find that writing something down helps me to hold myself accountable to it. I also find it helpful in constructing a dichotomy of what is, and is not, negotiable. As you learn and grow and as your circumstances change, so too will your desires but there are certain things you won’t want to lose sight of and having a physical reminder of those things can be quite helpful. Many people also find writing to be therapeutic and beneficial for the overall organization of their thoughts. Personally, writing something down helps me to take my mind off of it and move on.

3. Open yourself up to feedback.

Remember how I mentioned all of the other people in our lives and how they shape who we are? It is important to realize what a valuable experience that shaping can be and how important those people are to you. Therefore, you should not hesitate to seek out the individuals that you love and respect and hear their guidance on the direction you want to take in life. There’s something to be said for the fresh perspectives and diverse experiences of others. The next time you spend time with yourself you can give the advice you received full consideration and decide whether to integrate it into your next steps.

It’s important to regularly stop and check in with yourself; to examine your progress and reevaluate your goals. These steps will help you to reinvigorate yourself, add fuel to the fire that burns inside you, and literally change your life.

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