Dreams are whispers from your soul. – Unknown
It’s early evening. I’m sitting on my bedroom floor, with the windows open, listening to the faint sound of waves in the distance. I inhale the crisp autumn air and I can smell the change in season, and with it the scent of possibility.
In my heart, something is pulling.
Deep inside I know the life I’m living is miles away from the life that’s meant for me. I start to daydream about what that life might look like – but first … I look around.
To my right, my overflowing closet, spilling onto the floor next to me – an expansive tangle of handbags and ridiculously high heels.
If front of me, my alarm clock, reminding me that it’s late and tomorrow is another early morning.
And then, out of the corner of my eye, the mirror. I turn to fully face myself.
I look into my eyes and see:
A career that leaves me feeling empty.
A marriage that doesn’t feel right.
A mountain of debt that’s slowly drowning me.
I exhale and feel the weight of expectations, fear and self-doubt settle on my shoulders.
I turn off the light and get into bed, my heart heavy.
When I sat down to write this post today, this is the woman I thought of – a younger me, alone in my room, trapped by my own fears.
I know she is not alone. I know there are other women out there with their souls slowly suffocating, holding back from truly living life because they’re afraid of failure and afraid of judgement.
If you’re one of these women – if like me, you’ve felt the pulling in your heart and the weight on your shoulders – then I wrote this for you.
These are lessons that I know at some point my soul needed (or still needs) to hear. I hope it speaks to your soul as well and helps you find your path forward.
IT’S OK NOT TO WANT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE WANTS.
Give yourself permission to chase your dreams, not everyone else’s.
I know it’s scary. Other people will doubt you. They’ll tell you “One day, you’ll regret this.”
You’ll start to doubt yourself.
But trust me – when there’s a pulling in your heart it doesn’t go away, and ignoring it will only cause you pain in the long run.
I’ve walked away from careers, a marriage, a home and most of ‘things’ I spent my life accumulating – and to be honest I’m not even 100% sure what dream I’m chasing! But I know what feels right and I know I’ll never regret being true to myself.
RELATED POST: How Defining My Core Values Changed My Life
IT’S OK TO CHANGE YOUR MIND ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT.
I know we just established (above) that it’s tough to be true to yourself and chase your dreams.
So I understand that it’s even tougher to change your mind.
But remember this – trying new things means that you’re brave enough to take chances – and changing your mind means you’re wise enough to learn from your experiment.
Don’t be scared or embarrassed to change course if you notice something isn’t working for you.
YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY WHAT YOU OWN OR BY HOW YOU EARN YOUR LIVING.
You are defined by how you make people feel. By how you treat small animals. By what makes you laugh – and by what makes you cry.
You are not defined by the shoes in your closet, the car in your garage, or the number on your paycheque.
‘What you do’ is what you’re passionate about – it might be your career but it doesn’t have to be.
Don’t be limited by the labels other people give you.
ANGER AND FEAR ARE NORMAL EMOTIONS
For a long time, I hated myself for feeling angry or afraid. I thought it was a sign of weakness and I was ashamed of myself for being vulnerable.
But time has taught me that these strong emotions are not something to hide; instead, research shows that they are actually key to our well-being.
Anger can help us understand our priorities (after all, we often feel angry when our values have been violated) or help us to better understand our needs. And I’ve learned that embracing fear can lead to a great adventure!
Expressing your emotions is a sign of humanity and authenticity, and there is never any shame in being yourself. Instead of suppressing emotions, try to listen and learn from them.
SOMETHING DOESN’T HAVE TO LAST FOREVER TO BE SUCCESSFUL OR VALUABLE.
One thing I’ve heard time and time again (and also thought myself) when discussing changing careers or ending relationships is, “there goes x years of my life – wasted!”
It’s a haunting thought.
But please – let’s consider a different way of thinking.
After all, what is success? What makes something valuable?
Were there beautiful mornings? Was there laughter? Did you learn something about yourself? Do you have memories?
The seasons of our lives will change, and they are all beautiful in their own way.
YOUR HAPPINESS IS A VALID REASON FOR WANTING OR DOING SOMETHING.
And finally – you don’t owe anyone an explanation for following your heart and doing what brings you joy.
But if you do feel obligated to respond, your happiness is reason enough. You don’t need to explain yourself any further.
You are important, your feelings are important, and your dreams are important.
In writing this post, I can remember all too clearly how lonely and trapped I once felt – just a few short years ago. If you know someone who might be feeling the same, please feel free to share this post. Thank you xx