Most likely...it's because their own dreams failed. That could be because they didn't have, or seek out, the resources they needed to make them happen, or maybe there was some kind of devastating turn for the worse that led them to a point of no return. Maybe they had a change of heart and didn't know how to pursue their new dreams. Maybe they never had dreams to begin with because they weren't surrounded by creative people and innovative experiences growing up. The bottom line is that there are two types of people in this world: People who support your dreams (either because they pursued their own dreams and they want you to feel that same success, or because they didn't achieve their dreams and they don't want you to make the same mistakes--they want better for you) and people who don't support your dreams because they are jealous. Jealous of your creativity, your drive, your determination, and your passion. The creativity, drive, determination, and passion that they lacked and can't get back in time to start over. These people are poison. Closed-minded, negative haters will never fuel your dreams...but don't let that put out your fire.
Today I came across old lists from college preparation days. I had a lengthy list of schools I planned on applying to and visiting, and guess what? Ole Miss wasn't one of them. Here I am, at the school that I didn't know was the place I'd dreamed of when I closed my eyes. The place that I figured out, piece by piece, was the perfect fit for me. I'd always thought that my study abroad experience would be in Europe, and aside from that, the two top places on my bucket list are Thailand and Morocco. But where did I choose to spend my upcoming summer? Cape Town, South Africa. Let your dreams take the wheel. They'll take you to places you didn't expect to go, which makes you realize that the world is so much bigger than what you ever thought it was, and can offer you so much more knowledge and experience than you ever knew could be possible to obtain.
2. The places your dreams take you to make you worldly.
Looking back, there was no greater blessing than not being accepted into The University of Maryland. Granted, I was accepted to Towson University and Salisbury University, but none of these schools would have been able to give me the worldly realizations that I've gained by being in a different region of the United States than where I grew up and where I've lived all my life. This was the time to go out and explore something completely different. I understand and perceive things now in a way that my peers who stayed at home simply do not grasp. I see fashion, money, upbringings, food, dialect, and culture in general on such a different, more broad scale than I ever did before. There's a lot more out there than just the way I was raised, the food I grew up eating, the clothes I grew up wearing, the money my parents have, the things I say, the culture I've known all my life. The South taught me different ways of life. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity to experience this firsthand.
Who likes hanging out with people filled with negativity, envy, and dullness? That's exhausting, annoying, and dragging. On the other hand: who likes hanging out with people who are good listeners, who are encouraging of your passions, supportive of your goals, and say positive and uplifting things to make you feel like you can do this and you are worthy of doing this? Dreamers don't just understand other dreamers, dreamers want to understand everyone. It's non-dreamers who drag. Dreamers will be there for you to make you feel good about yourself and push you to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish. Those are the people that appreciate life...their own, yours, and the rest of the world's. The world needs more of them. More great people would have the confidence and the support to do more great things.
4. Dreamers serve more of a positive purpose in their own lives.
You get one shot at this life. You get one brain, one heart, one body, and one soul. If you support, encourage, and appreciate yourself the way you do for others, your ability to accomplish great things will skyrocket. Willpower: it's real. It exists, it's important, it's everything. Without it, you have nothing. Your dreams remain dreams. And dreamers won't take that for an answer. They'll treat themselves with the respect and positivity that they need to make the most of their shot at life, in their wholehearted attempt to do it right.
5. Dreamers are always growing as people.
When I moved 904 miles away from home, I knew no one. When I heard about a study abroad trip to Africa, I was committed within ten days. By dreaming, I've learned to take a leap of faith. Life is too short to obsess over perfection, details, and cautious predictability. I've learned that maybe my planner is not the Bible of my life. There's a lot to explore, and the more chances and risks I take, the more I have the desire to take on those explorations. I've learned to just jump in the car and go. To see the world at any chance I can get. Non-dreamers are too conventional and practical to take a chance. Their lives are boring. They don't know any different. They don't grow, as people, at nearly the rate as the dreamer does. They aren't learning through adventure and experience. They spend their time thinking that their cookie-cutter, "this is what I'm supposed to be doing." lives are fulfilling them, when really, they have no idea what they're missing by turning their noses to the adventurers.
Next stop: another dream. Next stop: another dream. Next stop: yet another dream. One dream leads to the next. It never ends. The more you expose yourself to, the more you submerge yourself in a whole new world, the more you will learn and the more people you will meet. People who don't dream don't discover. They don't discover what they could be really good at, who they could really love, where they might want to call home. They stick to what they know. By acting on all of my dreams, I have discovered new passions and talents that have inspired me to brew up whole new dreams. This never ends. It keeps my racing, colorful mind fresh with new and exciting thoughts all the time. Talk about inspiring. I never want to stop feeling this way.
7. Dreamers appreciate their past because of where their dreams will take them in the future.
You don't know a good thing till it's gone. You also don't know a bad thing till you find a better thing. This is how I felt by coming to college far away. I discovered a whole new life, and it put into perspective how good some of the things I left behind were and how bad some of the things I left behind were. Had I never followed my dreams, picked up, and left, I wouldn't have gained that kind of insight. Perspective. You can't get any until you see your past paths from a different light and a different angle. It'll inspire you to take some whole new paths, and to take a walk down the paths from your past that played a positive part in bringing you to your current path.
It becomes philosophical. Critical thinking starts to take the place of careless, stupid thoughts. Everything seems to take on a greater meaning, serve a larger purpose. LIFE becomes more beautiful. Dreamers who realize their dreams also realize the power of life: the ability to take the resources of this world and use them to their advantage -- to accomplish whatever they wish to accomplish. They are connecting with the earth and all that it offers on a deeper, intellectual, spiritual level. That is powerful.
9. Dreamers know how to love themselves.
In so many ways, self-confidence is a huge problem in today's world. The dreamer appreciates herself for having the courage to take chances and make great things happen that fill her heart with happiness. The dreamer believes in herself and realizes her capabilities. The dreamer starts to better understand her own thought process, her own wants and needs, her own joys and sorrows. Because of this personal growth through the realization of dreams, the dreamer loves herself. Because of this love, the dreamer does not struggle with the common issue of self-confidence the way so much of society does.
10. The dreamer wants to be happy.
Most of all, the dreamer wants a life full of good people, good places, good views, good food, good weather, good books, good health, and good vibes. While perfection is impossible, striving for happiness is a way of life for the dreamer. She does not settle for anything less than awesome. It's more than a mindset; it's a necessity, and it's a way of life. The dreamer just wants to be happy.
So, next time you put down someone's dream, think to yourself: are you repressing a dream of your own? Are you resenting yourself for not accomplishing your dream? Is it too late to accomplish your dream? Or, are you just feeling so intent on having a conventional, "normal-people" life? Swallow your pride. You're fooling no one, not even yourself. Call yourself a "realist" all you want. The only thing that's real is your REAL inability to believe in yourself. If you need inspiration for a dream, look around. Take a walk and enjoy the weather. Get out a canvas and some paintbrushes. Listen to music while taking a drive. Do something to make yourself feel alive. Do something different. You just might surprise yourself and get an idea. The possibilities are endless; creativity has no limits.
What are your dreams? I would love to hear them.