However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking passed away recently. Most of us will remember him as one of the world’s most well-known physicists. We might recall his amazing accomplishments and incredible discoveries that changed the way we think about the universe. Some of us might not realize the odds he had to beat to achieve this greatness. His inspiring story is of how his five decades-long struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) never halted the pursuit of his passion. He was a known genius who didn’t let his disease stop him from achieving his dreams. But what if he had?
Some of us tell ourselves stories that hold us back from reaching our goals or dreams. We all have an “it”, or a descriptor, that can become the obstacle. We can come up with all kinds of reasons for not reaching for our dreams, which really seem very legitimate to us. When we begin to explore what gets in our way, it’s vital to make sure that we are not blaming or shaming ourselves for having a hard time moving forward with our goals and dreams or beating ourselves up. It’s about understanding what inhibits us from reaching for what we truly want.
It Doesn’t Have to be a Disability
The word ‘disability’ implies that a person is not able. People use this word so freely, yet on an unconscious level, using that word subtly communicates to ourselves and others that this is true, that we are unable. Perhaps we could instead consider the “it” as a physical or emotional challenge. Is there an emotional, cognitive, or physical challenge, then, that is keeping you from realizing your dreams?
If there’s something we really want to do, whether it be big or small, we might be limiting ourselves because of what we tell ourselves. Or perhaps we don’t try because of what we believe other people are telling us, or what stereotypes say. But it’s about us and not about what other people say.
What’s Standing in Our Way?
Self-limiting beliefs stand in the way of realizing our dreams. It’s potentially hurting ourselves when we say, I can’t do this because…
- I’m not capable— or not intelligent enough— or courageous enough.
- I don’t have enough money—or energy— or creativity.
- I’m obese—or in a wheelchair—or had a heart attack.
- I have bipolar disorder—or cancer—or I cannot see.
- It’s too hard— or too scary—or it will take too long.
Live Up to Our Own Potential
When we look at others who have accomplished goals and realized their dreams, it is important that we do not compare ourselves to them. This isn’t helpful because we then often feel bad about ourselves. It’s about seeing them as an example of what is possible despite their challenges or seeming limitations and being inspired by them. Seeing them as a role model might help us as we try to live up to our own potential and not limit ourselves.
For my complete article, and more tips on obtaining your goals and dreams, please click on the link below.
My wish for you today is that you find the courage to take the first steps toward making your special dream, big or small, a reality.
-Kathleen Dwyer-Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director, Nassau Guidance and Counseling