I saw a television segment last week by RoadTrip Nation. This organization takes a very inspiring approach to working with young adults and older teens who are struggling to figure out where they fit and where they want to go with life.
The show got me thinking about the people in our lives who, with the best of intentions, tell us that our dreams are wrong or are impossible to fulfill. Teens and young adults, currently our Millennial generation, are usually the most deeply impacted by Dream Crunchers. Most of us have had at least one of these well-meaning advisors and many of us have been one at some time or another.
Dream Crunchers are usually people who are personal or cultural authority figures and they often believe they’re looking out for our best interest. The messages they give might look like this: “Don’t be silly!” “Who do you think you are?” “You can’t make a living that way.” “Your chances of making that work are pretty slim.” “Get a real job.”
If we let it happen, the impact of their perspectives can turn us away from our most cherished dreams.
If one of your well-meaning Dream Crunchers has you reconsidering the value or viability of your heart’s desire, you don’t have to walk away from your dreams and you don’t have to be angry.
Three things you can do to live your dreams:
- Recognize that you have an unusual dream and there isn’t a lot of support for achieving it so you’ll need to be determined, courageous and creative if you want to live it.
- Consider that your well-meaning Dream Cruncher has no clue how to help you achieve that dream but feels that he/she should be able to help. Let them off the guilt hook by kindly telling them that you’ll figure this one out for yourself.
- Put on your brave shoes and boldly go forth into the unknown, inviting all who are watching you to see what happens when you jump out of the box and dare to be original. Keep going until you get there.
If you find yourself being a well-meaning Dream Cruncher, relax, it’s ok. At some point, every dreamer needs people who provide them with reality checks. You don’t have to be confrontational and you don’t have to smash the dream or criticize the dreamer.
Three things you can do to support your dreamer and fulfill your sense of responsibility:
- Ask her/him what the plan is for achieving the dream.
- Admit that you have no idea how such a dream can become a lived reality and tell your dreamer that you’re interested in seeing how that’s going to happen.
- Admit that you don’t relate to this dream. There’s no need to give a reason, just own your disconnect from your dreamer’s dream. Ask your dreamer what he/she likes about the dream and the idea of living it.
Laughing Womyn Ashonosheni is a Healer who helps Millennials, GenX’ers & Baby Boomers live the lives they want. You can see more about her work at LaughingWomyn.com.