I had a dream. No, I’m not channeling Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’ve had lots of dreams. I’ve seen some of them grow and come to fruition, but sadly, I’ve seen many dreams wither and die. Most recently, I had a dream to be on The Biggest Loser. When my dream was pronounced dead, my world was rocked. I was gutted. When that dream died, wehn the thing I had wanted for so long was gone…I experienced a very real sense of loss. I can’t just put another dream in place of the old one. I have to learn how to dream again by grieving, growing and grabbing. This is what I have learned about myself, and what to tell myself.
Allow yourself to grieve. It’s okay to feel badly about my loss. It’s okay to let myself experience the full range of my emotions as they relate to my dream. I have to give myself some time to work through all the stages of grief, because I AM grieving. It’s tempting to wallow in the loss and indulge in self-pity, but that isn’t the answer. The sooner I’m in a place to accept my new situation, the sooner I’ll be ready to embrace a new dream.
Allow yourself to grow. Sometimes focusing on one dream in life gives me a sense of permission to ignore other dreams that come along. Instead, I have to give myself permission to try new things, to experience new hopes. Embrace the challenges and grow in ways that are different from the old dream. I have to flex my dream muscles and find some new strengths.
Allow yourself to grab hold of the next dream. That dream was a part of me. In fact, it began to encompass me. Now that it’s gone, the idea of fostering another dream feels a bit like cheating – like I’m being unfaithful. But, I can’t be faithful to a dream that is dead. The last step to healing is to give myself permission to let my heart and mind embrace a new vision. It may not be the dream that I yearned for, but if I spend all my time focusing on what I’ve lost, I’ll never see what I CAN have. The death of a dream doesn’t have to be the end of my hopes…it could be the beginning of an even better dream.
I don’t know what the next dream is, yet. I’m still working through some of the grieving, but I have learned so much already. I have learned that not getting what I want won’t kill me. I have learned that I have so many people who love me. That is kind of earth-shattering for me. I knew a lot of folks liked me and thought I was funny, but what this taught me is that I am truly and deeply loved. That’s a great feeling. And what’s even better is that I’m learning to love myself. I know that sounds kind of cheesy…and it is, but I need to love myself. So, as one dream dies I can say, “The dream is dead…Long live the dream!”
What about you? Have you had a dream die? What did you do?