believe | reclaiming desire
Dreams are made possible through our choice to believe in the possibility of them.
Spending time with my niece and nephews over the holidays, I was reminded of what it’s like to live as though anything is possible. Children don’t need permission to dream - their imaginations run wild and free. It made me wonder at which point in my life I accepted the belief that there are limitations around what is possible for me. I suppose it was years of experiences teaching me the ways of my world and my own worth within it. These experiences wore into that permeable and defenseless little me until they compounded into beliefs that would eventually harden into facts. And with that, I lost touch with my ability to believe.
My world became confined by the limitations I had unknowingly received in exchange for endless possibility.
What I’ve learned is that in order to achieve anything, you must first believe it is possible. If you want something but don’t believe it’s possible or that you’re worthy of it, then it will forever exceed your reach. So long as you continue arguing for your limitations - internal or external - that’s all you’ll get.
What I now know is that if I’m to live the kind of life that lights me up, I’m going to need to get that possibility back. My imagination is still firmly intact - I’m a romantic, after all - but if I want to bring some of these fanciful imaginings to reality, I’ll need first to believe in the real-life possibility of them. And since I am the one who chose to stop believing in possibility in the first place, then I must still have the power to choose to take it back.
The way I see it, our limitations are a bit of a cop-out. So long as we convince ourselves that the things we desire are beyond our reach, we are excused from having to go after them. It’s easy to look around and come up with countless excuses why it isn’t possible - there are no jobs, it would take years, I’m too old, it’s too late, no one else is doing it, I don’t have the experience / money / time - we have a lifetime of practice at coming up with all the reasons why our dreams simply aren’t possible. Too bad for us, otherwise we would be out there making it happen, right? It seems to me that many of us don’t bother trying because we choose to believe that what we want isn’t possible.
We use our belief in limitation to protect us from our fear of failure and from the pain we might experience should we not succeed at something that really matters to us.
My curiosity has recently lead me to the realization that I want to live a life of novel experiences. You might be thinking what I’ve been thinking … what on earth does that mean? Honestly, I can’t yet say. What I know today is that I want my life to be one of continuous exploration. At the same time, I know I want a simple, intimate lifestyle with family and my close group of friends in a community that I love. This is where limitation pipes up, reminding me that these desires are quite obviously at odds … you can’t have it all. It goes on to point out that I still haven’t defined this “life of novel experiences” therefore … it doesn’t exist. And the list goes on until I’m nearly persuaded that it is in fact impossible. It’s usually around this point that fear steps in to remind me of the consequences of failure. Possibility is clearly outnumbered.
Though the odds are stacked against it, I’m choosing possibility. I figure, why not? If the best case is that I actually pull this off and the worst is that I make a fool of myself and have to go back or find another route, I think it’s worth the gamble. I know that the most important people in my life won’t stop loving me if I try and I “fail” and that I can change my mind at any time. I’m allowing myself to acknowledge what I want, even though I’m not yet able to clearly define it. I intend to create a life of novel experiences, to freely wander about my life’s terrain, all without sacrificing simplicity, connection and comfort. I believe it’s possible.
Think of something your heart yearns for. Now write out the top five things that come to mind that are standing between you and it. Be honest - do you know with 100% certainty that those limitations are unalterable facts?
Perhaps there’s an area of your life that leaves you feeling stuck, lethargic, detached or hopeless. Often times these experiences come from knowing our desires are currently unmet and feeling as though we don’t have the power to do anything about it. At that point, we’ve cut ourselves off from possibility. To get back, we need only take responsibility by acknowledging that what we desire is actually possible. Only then are we free and inspired to take action while making peace with reality.
Consider that any natural, authentic, well-meaning desire that you have come to realize throughout your lifetime is in fact possible.
Put likelihood aside and simply acknowledge that we live in a world of infinite possibility. However likely you deem it to be, it is possible.
A few things I’ve learned that have helped me to embrace possibility:
- Let go of your fear of failure. If you fail, you’ll have gained so much in the attempt. If you never try, then you’ll never know what might have been. Playing small for fear of failing to achieve your greatest desires may be less painful in the short term, but in the long term it may leave you wondering what if.
- Place a mental shield between you and the outside world. Let no one else have a say around what’s possible for you. Share what you’re up to, but be careful not to allow others to weigh in on it. They will naturally share with you their own limitations which we then absorb like sponges. It’s tempting to search for approval and encouragement and it feels good when people share in your vision and the possibility of it. But that won’t always be the case. Be on guard!
- Accept that you won’t have all of the answers from the start. You’ll need to begin before they will start to reveal themselves. If you wait to have all the answers you’ll spend a lifetime doing just that. Choosing to stay focused on what’s possible will allow you to take the first step without knowing what the next will be.
- Speak of your dreams with confidence, demonstrating courage, patience and determination. Especially in the face of objections and naysayers. Don’t argue or try to prove anything, simply stand tall. By following your heart and being an example of what’s possible, you’ll give others permission to do the same.
Take back possibility by choosing to believe that every single thing that your heart truly desires is possible in reality. Remember that you are the only one who decides what’s possible in your life. It’s impossible only when you believe it is so.