Have you ever had a dream that excited you so much you thought you might burst, only to completely freeze at the thought of telling anyone about it?
Maybe you decided you wanted to run a marathon, but you’d never run more than a mile. Or maybe you decided you wanted to go back to school to change careers. Or you wanted to dye your hair purple or wear a super short dress with some kick ass knee-high boots. Maybe it was a dream to write a screenplay or take voice lessons.
Whatever the dream, after the initial buzz of excitement wore off, that familiar voice in your head interrupted, saying “You can’t do that! What will people think?!” Or the even more insidious “You’ll look like an IDIOT! You’ll be the butt of jokes for YEARS!”
Right?! Geesh!!! I was a slave to that voice for so long. It literally controlled me.
I dressed the “right” way, followed the “right” career and life paths (hello first marriage), and OMG I actually wore nude panty hose at my first job! #facepalm
To be honest, echoes of that voice still linger, but I’ve realized something so powerful yet so simple - It doesn’t freaking matter one tiny bit what other people think.
I tell my boys this, and I'll share it here -
As long as you’re respectful, honest, and making choices from a place of love,
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
And do it with pride!
In one of my previous posts, Failure is a Gift, I talked about my first marriage. To be clear, the relationship hadn't been healthy even leading up to the wedding. But I went through with it despite the neon warning signs, because... WHAT WILL EVERYONE THINK if I call it off?!
I remember my dad pulling me aside and telling me it wasn’t too late to change my mind, that I didn’t have to go forward just out of fear of judgement.
My dad was so wise.
But I didn’t listen. I let my fear of others’ judgement cloud my own judgement. Do I regret it? Not one bit, because it led me to where I am today. But I do see, in hindsight, exactly what happened.
That’s the thing. I think many of us are so programmed to view things from the perspective of what others might think, that it never even occurs to us to consider what WE want. And when we do get a glimpse of what our own heart truly wants, we quickly shove it out of sight for fear of ridicule or failure leading to more ridicule.
But let me ask you this:
What’s the worst that will happen if someone laughs at your dream?
Seriously, take a minute to think about this.
You say, “I’m going to climb Mount Everest,” and everyone laughs.
Then they say “Wait, you're serious?! No way. You are wayyy too out of shape! You’ll never make it!”
Then they say, “That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."
Then they say, “You’re crazy.”
And you say, “All the best people are.”
Yes ma'am, we're crazy enough to believe we can. And we will.
So go climb that mountain! Who the !*&% cares what other people think?
Use their judgement as rocket fuel and blast yourself to the summit.
Because in the end, others’ opinions will never bring us happiness, but they sure can take it away.
Go chase that crazy dream. Life’s short and our dreams matter. WE matter.
I believe in you.