Most people have a hidden dream — one that they stuff away deep down inside when they grow up and become responsible and decide that it’s not practical. What’s your hidden dream?

Why do I care what your dream is? I care, and I care a lot. You see, my dream is to help you bring yours to life. In recent years I’ve brought that dream out of hiding and taken action on it and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.

Now don’t go getting all scared. Sure, your dream’s been hidden away for a while – but let’s just take it out, dust it off, and look at it for a minute. It’s not going to bite you. It might nibble at your ear, but admit it – you like having your ear nibbled on a bit.

I’m just teasing about the nibbling, but I’m serious about your dream.

We stuff our dreams away because we think people expect it of us, but I’d like you to explore what would happen if you lived yours instead of tucking it away again when we’re done talking today.

There are many reasons people lock away their dreams, but most of the time it has to do with pleasing someone else. Many people are ‘pleasers’ in life.

You start your day earlier than anyone else in the house because you make breakfast, lay out clothes, check homework, pack lunches, set out office projects, and make sure everyone gets where they need to go on time. You work overtime to earn enough to buy your spouse or children some gadget they want.

You want to be kind and helpful. You say ‘yes’ even when you want to say ‘no.’ You fall in bed at night, exhausted and stressed, because you feel like it’s part of your job in life to make everyone you interact with happy – but you’re running out of energy and don’t have a lot to show for it. If that’s you, you’re a pleaser.

I’m glad you strive to be kind and helpful. The world needs more people like that. But, unfortunately, if you’re a pleaser instead of just a really nice person, your help is doing more than you think.

What do I mean?

When you always pick out your kids’ clothes you’re telling them they’re not capable of making good decisions – even though you had the best of intentions.

When you do everything for your spouse but their workday job, you’re saying they’re not your equal and can’t do things for themselves. You’re also denying them the pleasure that comes from being deeply involved with your family and relationship.

And the biggest thing you show all those people you help? You show them that your dreams don’t matter. And you teach your kids that when they’re adults, their dreams won’t matter, either.

I know that’s not what you want to show them. You want to show them you love them and care for them so much that you want their lives to be easier than yours. But that’s not all they see.

I know this is a bit of a tough love conversation between us. But I also think you can handle it. You’re stronger than you think, and your dreams matter more than you know.

If you start to pursue your dreams and that means that your kids pick out their own clothes, you’ll teach them to make choices and live with the consequences. You’ll also let them know the pride of doing something by themselves.

If your spouse takes care of breakfast and signing homework slips a few mornings each week so that you can exercise, he (or she) gets to experience how amazing and wonderful it is to nourish a family on multiple levels.

And if you take your dream, pursue it, and make it a reality, you’ll be a living example of just how happy and healthy people can be. And that will have positive ripples that go far beyond the limited number of people you help daily now.

Being kind and helpful is something we should all strive for. It only becomes dangerous when you compromise your own goals and self-worth.

When you have an opportunity to help, I invite you to ask yourself if you have the time, energy, or the ability to do it. If not, it’s ok to say, “No, I’m not going to do that because if I do, I’ll have nothing left for me.”

Helping others is a worthwhile endeavor – just be sure to make yourself a priority, too.

So what do you think? Are you going to give your dream little snack, take it for a walk, and start nurturing it into reality?

If you’re ready to stop hiding your dream, yay!

And if you’re not quite sure, that’s okay, too. Sometimes it takes a little more time before you’re ready to dive in. I’m here for you and will do my best to give you what you need in the posts that follow.

So, until next time, remember: It’s okay to be nice to everyone else as long as you’re being nice to you, too!

This week’s quote:

“Today’s reaction is nothing but the shadow of a past experience being replayed in the mind.”
~Heather Elliott