Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 12:35 am
Each year on October 31 in my sleepy little Northern California town, a historic street known as McDonald Avenue creeps alive to resemble a small haunted Mardi Gras sans public drunkenness, bar fights, and thousands of people throwing beads.
Row upon row of Victorian homes on the tree-lined street is decorated in Halloween themes designed to scare the hell out of trick-or-treaters.
And, there are as many costumed adults as kids.
When you step on to McDonald Avenue after 7:00 p.m., you have suddenly transformed into another world–something right out of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds. In fact, Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Shadow of a Doubt was filmed on McDonald Avenue, and the house is still standing.
Halloween is an occasion for people to either dress up as someone/something they love or someone/something they hate. When you dress in costume, you are living a fantasy and revealing to the world parts of your inner self.
Psychology experts say that our Halloween costume choices are not random, even if we like to believe they are. Professor John Suler reveals that by studying the different characters, people choose to be they …
” . . . may reveal something about them that otherwise is not immediately obvious. … maybe not even obvious to themselves . . . People may simply say that they are wearing a particular costume because ‘I like it.’ When asked, they’re not sure what it says about them. One theory states that our personality operates in polarities. There is our conscious self that we present to everyone during our everyday life — but then there is a hidden side to our personality which may be the exact opposite . . .”
Halloween costumes allow you to look at other parts of your personality and what you keep hidden from the world.
What do Halloween Costumes Have to do with Big Dreams?
Many people want to change their lives by going after their big dreams, except they have no idea what they want, and it’s a pretty common problem. It can be challenging to trust the right voice in our head, telling you what your heart really wants and needs.
Not knowing what your big dream could be is common for people who grow up in a highly dysfunctional household where your needs aren’t being met, or your voice isn’t heard. Or maybe you come from a family where your mom has big dreams, but she chooses instead to put her family’s needs first until everyone is out of the house. Maybe dad has worked for years at the same job because he thinks he can’t do anything else or change is too big of a risk. Unconsciously they can be passing their big dream avoidance character to you without realizing it.
There can be any number of reasons why you might not know what your dream is, but there are signs right now in your life that can tell you how to find your dream. You just need to recognize the signs are and interpret what they mean.
In my article Can You Pass the ‘What is Your Big Dream’ Test?, I shared how the things you loved to do before the age of 12 and how they made you feel are part of the dream discovery process. My guess is some of you struggle with this exercise because you can’t remember what you liked to play when you were a kid. If this is your problem, then you need to take a look at the opposite of “things you loved” just like putting on a Halloween costume that is opposite of who you are in everyday life. Looking at what you didn’t like doing in your childhood can help you figure out what you do enjoy.
If you can’t remember what you once loved doing, get out a piece of paper and a pen to make a list.
Split your paper into three sections. In the first column, you are going to list the things you hated or didn’t like, in the middle column you are going to put the opposite of what that task might be, and on the right column, you are going to put what the opposite means. Start first with just filling the left-hand column with all the things you didn’t enjoy. Don’t censor yourself or think of reasons why you shouldn’t list them. Just list all the things you didn’t like.
For example, here are some things I didn’t like doing when I was growing up:
• Running long distances
• Eating dinner when I wasn’t hungry
Now I list the opposite of these irritants or the opposite feeling. For example, my opposite list might look like this:
• Homework = (the opposite) NO homework = (means to me that) I love the freedom to work on what I want to learn about in the evenings
• Running long distances = (the opposite) NO running for more than 10 minutes = (means to me that) I love walking and hiking or going fast when I don’t have to think about pain or long distances. I enjoy setting my own pace and enjoying my surroundings.
• PE = (the opposite) NO PE = (means to me that) I love to dance. Dancing makes me feel free–like I am flying.
• Eating dinner when I’m not hungry = (the opposite) Eating only when I feel hungry = (means to me that) I love having the freedom of my schedule and listening to my body’s natural hunger cycle
Keep going on your list until you can’t think of anything more that you don’t like. Then fill the middle column with their exact opposites. When you have completed both the left and middle columns, begin to look at what doing the opposite means to you.
The opposite is where what you love is hidden. If you look closely at my opposites listed above, you will notice a common theme that freedom, independence, and creativity are significant for me. My dream must include a large amount of freedom, creativity, and independence. I also know that I don’t like doing math all the time (even though I am good at it and worked in banking for years), but I love the opposite, which is English. Is creative writing a free and independent pursuit? I would say yes, and it’s probably the reason I enjoy it.
Sometimes we need to clear away old negative memories to get to realize what it is we enjoy. Once you have your list of opposites, leave it to sit for a few weeks then return to it to see if you notice what your big dream could be. Your big dream idea may come to you in the middle of the night when you are taking a shower or driving down the freeway.
Once you’ve explored the things you don’t like, it’s time to make your big dream your Halloween costume for your everyday life.
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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