Dream Catchers: Choosing Good People

“I’m thinking I want to be a media psychologist, I would love to take psychology to the masses, go on television and share what I have been doing in the classroom and clients for the past few decades. It’s time for a transition…” These were my recent and seemingly naïve words to an old friend.
She responded with “who the hell would want to watch you? You’re not hot. Let it go – you are lucky to have a day job, honestly – just get some more patients and be done with it.”
Ironically, on the day I told her that – I had already gotten the TV show – I wanted to test the waters about this concept of dream catchers. Needless to say, she didn’t qualify.
It’s amazing to me how cavalier we are with our dreams. Particularly new dreams, ideas, or ventures. We just share them with other people, wagging our tails and tongues like puppies as we wait for the other person to get as excited as us.
Until they don’t – and they often don’t. Then we lose the buzz quicker than a frat boy in rehab.
Most people are not good dream catchers. Their own stuff gets in the way of being authentic and enthusiastic cheerleaders. And this can be lethal.
Dreams are like embryos – precious and easily destroyed precursors of life and possibility. Just like most pregnant women are careful to not insert anything toxic into their bodies lest they harm their growing child – a child who is still unknown to them – we must safeguard our aspirations with equal prenatal care. When we allow people in to our lives to squelch our dreams it is the equivalent of taking crack during the first trimester – not good.
Dreams are like children. For those of you who are parents or pet owners, this will ring true. We are typically careful to vet the qualifications and/or reputation of any person with whom we will leave our children or dogs. We take great pains to choose people known to us and our kids or people with certain credentials. You may enjoy spending endless weekend hours with your drinking buddies, but you may not entrust your kids to them – because it may not be in the kids’ or pets’ best interest. Same thing goes with the dreams. It could be a critical mistake to entrust our hopes and aspirations to the wrong person lest they mistreat or neglect them. But we are not nearly as careful with our dreams as we should be.
Why do we do this? We typically go to the people we think are stakeholders in our lives – family members, old friends, regular friends, partners, spouses, siblings. Makes sense – they should be our dream catchers. But they may not always be the right people. Your success means different things to different people – and while they may not be consciously holding you back or hurting that embryonic idea of yours – some people don’t like change, some people are resentful, some people are angry about the dreams they gave up. The reasons are myriad – the outcome is the same. When that unformed dream is laughed at, questioned or belittled – it may not recover. Worse, you may scrap the whole thing.
Who or what makes a good dream catcher? This is tough, because sometimes you have to stumble before you figure out who is qualified for the job. If you take those aspirations to someone and they kick you to the curb – that is telling. If you repeatedly take your hopes and goals to someone and they always hit you with practical roadblocks (I think it’s ridiculous that a man your age wants to become a chef/artist/snowboarder/DJ……), they are probably not a dream catcher (these folks may be useful down the road when you are in the implementation stage). Learn from these mistakes, and don’t think these people will change. They won’t – they will just deflate you every time.
Pay attention to those around you. Your dream catcher may be an acquaintance who has always been a warm face, or an authentic friend/family member who has been a risk taker. You may not find your best dream catchers the first time out the gate, but don’t keep taking these precious and fragile hopes to people who won’t treat them as they need and deserve to be treated.
What about all those other folks who aren’t qualified to nurture your hopes and dreams? Invite them to the party when your dream becomes a reality. You may just turn their lives around.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 10:30 am and is filed under Health and Wellness, Relationships and Sex. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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