Our readers and Facebook friends have been submitting questions about achieving your dreams.
“How do you deal with the inevitable days where it doesn’t feel like your dream is moving forward?”
Please fight the compulsion to wait for the moment you’ve finally achieved your dream to be happy.
You may be happy for a time but then you’ll move on to the next goal. I’ve done this for 10+ years. From being published to being on TV, it’s always a special moment to achieve a sought after goal. But if I waited for perfection to be happy, I wouldn’t be happy very often.
I’m going to get more personal than I have in the past.
What I’m going through best describes the difference between someone who dreams, and someone who dreams but gives up before they’ve made progress.
I’m getting divorced. The relationship started when I was 20 and at 32 I’m having trouble identifying myself from the marriage. I was terrified of thinking of being on my own. I did not think I was strong enough to do this. I did not believe I was strong enough to support myself and my son.
There were so many low moments where I felt overwhelmed and helpless. Nights I cried myself to sleep wondering if I was doing the right thing. I questioned myself so deeply. I wanted to give up and go back to the way things were, no matter how bad they were.
I was wrong.
I’m a better mother, a better friend, and healthier without the difficulties of the marriage. I’m still shocked that I’m stronger than I imagined. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be happier alone than I have been in years, I would have called you a liar and checked to make sure you weren’t on drugs. Kidding. (I totally would have called someone to check up on you.) The woman that types this is a very different person than the one who worked so hard for a marriage that would never be happy.
The most unexpected and surprising part of this process is learning that life doesn’t have to be perfect, goals don’t have to be reached to feel happiness.
So how do you find happiness before you’ve achieved your dream?
How do you get through the weak moments and still allow yourself to feel happiness before you’ve made your dream reality? The following advice applies even if your dream has not made itself known yet. I did not know that my dream was to get out of this marriage until after I was out.
You show up. Every day. You deal with the pain. You seek joy. You count your blessings. You cry when you need to. You laugh when you can. You lean on your friends. My God, they have brought me back from a personal hell. Anyone that has made a major life change will give you similar tips. One step at a time. Moment by moment.
I clung desperately to the blessings in my life. My friends, my family, my beautiful son, my career.
Right before I realized it was over, I got an unexpected phone call from Cath inviting me to blog here at 8 Women Dream.
Her faith in me changed my life. I didn’t think I was a decent writer, I didn’t believe I had a voice that you would want to hear. Being in a loveless marriage kills your confidence. I can not imagine my life without the amazing women who give their life force to this website.
The support of all the dreamers past and present and our wonderful readers has shown me that even when you feel like things won’t get better or easier, there’s someone there to hold your fears so you can step past them.
Letting go of fear and making room for faith (what Iman means in Arabic coincidentally) applies to so many dreams.
Have you ever held onto something so hard and so long that you forgot why you were holding it? Letting go of something you can’t have anyway opens your life up to beautiful possibilities. Like an arrow released from the bow, releasing the tension makes quick action of honing in on your dream. We went from a chaotic and stressful environment to a baby sleeping through the night (FINALLY!) and eating a wide range of food. Voluntarily. My former preemie is now well on the growth chart and projected to be healthy and tall. The peace in the house was so unexpected because I’d given up hope of having it.
Choosing faith over fear is how I taught myself photography and photoshop. I showed up daily and learned business and marketing even though I was abysmal at first. You start. And you keep trying.
The only difference between successful people and people who give up is that those who give up don’t get to see what they’re capable of.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Don’t give up. Don’t wait for perfect. Don’t wish your life away. Our time here is precious. There is a blessing in this moment, it’s your job to find it.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.