I realized something not too long ago and that was that it so great to have dreams and aspirations. They give you hope, something to look forward to and to plan. Dreams can help you align your gifts and talents with those things you absolutely love to do the most, so that you can bring to fruition a living that you never have to consider to be “a job”. To me THAT is the definition of success.
With this realization, I also took in the understanding that you can’t always keep your dreams “out there” in front of you. You must bring them in close, into your heart, into your reality and beliefs and most importantly you must welcome them into your NOW.
When we keep dreams as a proverbial carrot dangling in front of us, sure they may keep us moving, or they may just keep us daydreaming and growing ever resentful of those around us that took steps we haven’t yet. There’s a certain safety in always having our dreams out in the distance. It comforting to know we always have that goal to strive for and deep down it might terrify people to actually reach the horizon and achieve that goal, because then what do we do? Actually enjoy our lives?
This is where anxiety stems from…straying from the present moment into a future of uncertainty or one that you have convinced yourself is full of impending doom or failure. Sadly, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy if we do not become aware of it.
Just as our perceptions of what the future holds are subconsciously tied to the faith we have in ourselves to make the choices needed to get us there, we need to consider how our perceptions of our past can act to limit or alter just how many steps we take or even attempt to take towards ever creating that future we dream of.
I often say that the stories we tell ourselves cause us the most suffering. It is not usually situations that are necessarily good or bad per se, but the stories we tell ourselves about them and the judgement we create in our minds. When we convince ourselves those things just ARE this way or that, not only are we limiting ourselves to having to now navigate within the constraints of a small box, but we are also putting ourselves in the equivalent position of getting into a car with no steering wheel.
We may not stop to consider how damaging or hindering our own thoughts about things, people, and events from our past can affect not only our present lives but our future as well. If we hold onto guilt, regret, anger, or shame for things we did or didn’t do; things others said or didn’t say, it is US that keep ourselves locked in a prison in our own minds. And oftentimes, if we just simply revisit these events we have tortured ourselves with for so long, we may see them in a completely different light.
Can we KNOW for sure that the way we perceived the events actually did happen the way we keep replaying them in our heads after all these years? Did the person really mean it the way we took it? Hanging onto these perceptions and stories; this is where depression can come from that feed our insecurities and fill our minds with the “what-if’s” and “I should have done this or said that”. Our past is meant to be our teacher and while the lessons are often painful they are what add to your integrity and strength.
There are so many factors that allow us to justify our hanging onto things from our past, like we are doing something to get back at the other person. Or that it’s benefiting us in some way not to let it go and move on. But what we don’t often realize is that forgiveness is never about the other person. Forgiveness is so YOU can have peace; it has nothing to do with them. And letting go and moving on, doesn’t mean you are a sucker or had one done over on you. It means you simply respect and love yourself enough to cherish your own peace of mind. You are confident that you deserve to be happy and that nothing anyone has ever done or said to you is ever worth losing your smile.
This is not to suggesting we all become unemotional robots; not in the least. To experience the full spectrum of emotion is human and is, in my opinion, a beautiful thing (yes even the sad or “negative” emotions). What I am saying is that all emotions serve their purpose and that is ALL they are there to do. To serve their purpose and be let go of. If we sit with emotions too long, they begin to consume us.
Happiness is NOT an emotion; it is a state of BEING. It cannot exist anywhere but inside you and cannot be found in another person or in a future time; yet that is where most of are conditioned to look for it. Joy IS an emotion and like all others is fleeting and temporary and the trick is to learn to ride the wave of emotion that comes with life. Happiness isn’t some destination in the future that we need to strive to get to. It is a state of being that we either choose for ourselves or we don’t and regardless of what is ever going on, we always have that choice – no one can take that away from us.
If we are always thinking that happiness comes from or is taken away by others, guess where it will always be? Just out of reach. No wonder so many of us are so guarded, untrusting or on edge! Yet, once we realize that happiness is there within us at all times, smoldering like embers in those unique gifts we haven’t yet gotten the courage to share with the world, we no longer see the world as a place we need to compare, compete or conquer.
I say, the key to unlocking our self-inflicted prison is merely self-love. Once you learn to love yourself, the door appears. Once you get the courage to approach the door with the intention to explore what lies on the other side, you will then be anointed with the key. The funny thing is, the key was within your own heart the whole time.
We ARE our greatest dream. And the greatest day of your life will be the day you find out.
“Break the Chains: How to No Longer Be a Prisoner of Your Past”, by Tamara Rant, May 2, 2015 at https://consciouslifenews.com/break-chains-longer-be-prisoner/1184881/