Last week I announced the launch of Acts of Bravery website coming at the end of April, designed to inspire+empower+motivate you on your brave journey to live fully in your dreams. If you missed it. Check out all the details here.
A potion of Acts of Bravery is BraveResources, divided into four sections—BraveYou, BraveRelationships, BraveParenting, BraveCareer.
As promised here’s a sneak peek of what the BraveYou resources are all about:
No matter the circumstance, change starts within. If you want to live a brave life, be wholly and completely you, and run hard after those dreams, no matter how scary, you have to look at you. BraveYou resources help identify who you are at the core, places you want to grow, and obstacles tethering you down.
BraveYou resources also address the Body+Mind+Spirit connection. Sometimes, just one of these areas needs a little elbow grease. But often, we forget as integrated beings, each part affects the other and this un-awareness causes problems. Read about how this exact problem affected me and the brave steps I took to heal here.
And to take it a step farther, today’s post is all about BraveYou and is part of the 3-Weeks to a Braver You e-mail course I’m in the prossess of creating.
Look for an excerpt of BraveRelationships next week!
Now Onto Dreaming . . .
If you’re anything like me, and I’m betting you are, life has dealt you a few disappointments.
Some disappointments are easier to get over: Someone took the last bowl of triple chocolate ice cream. Your favorite restaurant is closed on Sundays and you’re starving. The dentist was out of the red freebie toothbrushes at your cleaning.
The worst disappointments are devastating: Losing your business during the recession. A broken relationship that simply won’t mend. A chronic illness.
For me, disappointment stopped my dreaming. Why bother? Even if I got to have my dream, I’d end up losing it anyway.
Talk about a bright ball of sunshine, right? There’s a word for this type of thinking: Hopelessness.
And as Dostoevsky said, “To live without hope is to cease to live.”
Shutting down hope, therefore dreams, puts us in a box. Let’s label this box Fear. When we live in the Fear Box we hedge ourselves, creating protections that make our world smaller and smaller.
Take the “losing relationship” disappointment. This, unfortunately, has been a theme in my life, for reasons I won’t get into here. About ten years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a friend group with five other women. Despite how much I loved every single one of them, I feared stepping in fully, jumping in with both feet. How long would it last before they rejected me? Which one of them would betray me? How long would these relationships last before they deserted me?
These were serious questions I wrestled with. For months. Then, one day on a walk—I remember this like it happened yesterday—clear as day, a voice in my head asked me, “Even if you lose every single one of these relationships, will the time you spent with them be worth it?”
I stopped dead in my tracks. Every single nerve in my body screamed, Yes!
That Yes! broke those defense mechanisms. I want to tell you it was all hunky dory and smooth sailing from then on out, but I had to learn to fully invest my heart, to trust again. And every step closer to vulnerability with my friends, every decision to present me, instead of holding back, broke those faulty defense mechanisms even further.
In one of my counseling sessions, my therapist said something that stuck. I’m paraphrasing here. Life is messy. We never know what’s next. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to good people. There’s no rhyme or reason, no way of tilting the world for good stuff to roll in our direction. We must play the hand we’ve been dealt. How we play it, makes us who we are.
I want to be the type of person who refuses to let the worst times of life imprison me in hopelessness. I want to rise from them stronger, more resilient, and wiser.
To do that takes tenacious hope, and hope is spawned from dreams.
If we want to live fully and wholly, we must be brave enough to dream again.
But, Rachelle, I’ve tried. I don’t know how to begin to dream again.
You’re in luck. I have three questions for you to jump-start your mind thinking about your dreams.
But first, grab your journal, pen, and highlighter. This is a play as we go post. Do the activities. Consider it self-care. I’m here with you. Let’s do this!
Question 1: What did you dream about as a kid?
Take that pen and start scribbling down everything that pops in your mind. You know them. Olympic gymnast. Pro soccer goalie. Captain of the treehouse club. Horse rancher. Teacher. Store owner. Cat whispered. Magic wielder.
Those were some of mine from third grade.
You know yours. No matter how small, how outrageously impossible, write it down.
If it helps start with as young as you can remember and work your way up through your stages of life. What we dream about as a four-year-old is usually vastly different from a graduating senior, but some of those dreams might be hauntingly similar and probably still strike an emotional cord in your depths. That’s the gold. Highlight those.
Question 2: What feels impossible, but you long for it anyway?
Voicing these longings is brave. So, before you even start I want to say, “You are amazing! I’m so excited for you! Doing this will change your life!”
Got that paper? Is your pen poised to start scratching away?
That thing that you want? The one you have buried so deep, maybe you haven’t even fessed up to wanting it to yourself.
Yes, that thing. Take a deep, calming breath. And dare to write it down.
I’m smiling ear to ear. I know how rough that was and I am soooooooo proud of you, because admitting these dreams is the first step to getting to live them.
Now, before you forget, scroll down to the comments and tell me what you wrote. If you’re not ready to go public yet, no problem. Private message me here. Writing your deepest desires in your journal and closing it up and forgetting about it is one thing. But telling someone else? Now you have some skin in the game.
Question 3: Fill in the blank. If only __________, then I will be happy.
I know. I know. This can quickly turn into a contentment issue. There’s a whole post I plan to write on contentment later. But for now, put that aside, because we are daring to dream. So, just like before, as you mull over this question when those thoughts pop in your mind, write them down. Every single one.
This is brainstorming, not cement. If you write something down that doesn’t ring true in a few days, you can always cross it out. But the point of these exercises is to purge. To dig down deep to the well of dreams that you’ve covered up with the silt and rubble of disappointment.
We’re getting our juices flowing.
Flexing that atrophied dream muscle.
All in preparation for the final bonus activity.
Bonus Activity: Write down 100 dreams.
This is a toughy. When I went through this exercise, I got to around twenty and had to start drilling. But use those childhood dreams. Mine from those. Take as long as you need.
In prep, make it easy for yourself. Grab your journal and make a numbered list from 1 to 100. Now snag a post it, dog ear the page, mark it however you wish so the list is easily accessible. I recommend keeping the list handy as you go about your day, because dreams always reveal themselves at the most inconvenient times. But don’t lose them. Write them down as they come.
You made it! Congratulations!
You’ve taken a huge brave step today. Even if these exercises were easy for you, having your dreams written down, in an accessible place for future reference (hint, hint, this activity is a foundation for others) is courageous.
Now as always, go share these dreams with your accountability partner, mentor, or a friend. I’d love to hear about them too! Write them in comments or on any of my social media sites.
Also! In prep for the Acts of Bravery launch click here to Join the Acts of Bravery Community. You’ll receive all the fun updates as I add more resources to help along your brave warrior journey.
I wish you a brave week, full of dreaming big!