“Having disinterred our dream, having used the power to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.” (Alchemist viii)
It sounds like an oxymoron. How can we fear the very thing we’ve hoped for, fought for, dreamed about our entire lives? Yet, we know it’s a truth no one actually talks about because it is truly the greatest failure in all of humanity. If we didn’t fear actualizing our dreams, there would be millions of happy people walking the earth, living joy-filled, passionate lives.
We are all created for some glorious purpose, yet it is easier for people to believe that they have nothing to offer the world. Another lie we tell ourselves because of our fears.
The truth is we all have something that brings us joy, which will correspondingly spread joy to the world around us, yet we push that thing aside because we tell ourselves it’s nothing; it’s just a hobby; I can’t make a living doing what makes me happy.
We can make a beautiful living, but we’ve been seduced by the false image of success—riches beyond our dreams—making us forget about our passions, so we can pursue a job that makes lots of money, allowing us to buy things we don’t need to be happy.
Even if we don’t believe the lie, even if we believe that we have something beautiful to offer the world, we stop short of achieving our dreams.
“The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far.” (Alchemist viii)
Guilt does such a number on us, especially when we have something that others do not have. We downplay our successes, so that others don’t feel inferior around us. Sympathy is a beautiful thing; it helps us identify with others’ pain. However, sympathy can add to our guilt because we know how it feels to feel inferior. We also hide our successes; we fear the attack on our character because others “throw rocks at things that shine” (Taylor Swift). Guilt forces us to hide our light; it also turns us green with envy because we have given up on our dreams and can’t stand it when others achieve them.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson
It’s not a new concept. We are not the first to experience guilt and fear. Where does it come from? Other people? Religion? Parents? The truth is we do it to ourselves. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” (Eleanor Roosevelt). We allow people to guilt us into a certain behavior. It gives us an excuse to give up on what we really want.
I would’ve become an artist, but I didn’t want to disappoint my parents’ dreams for me.
I really want to be a writer, but God has called me to be a mother; I don’t have time for anything else.
We choose to listen to the lies and drown out the truth: Loving parents want us to be happy; God created us with these passions. Why wouldn’t they and He want us to manifest that which He gave us?
The truth is we are scared; what if we fail? Look at all the other people who have failed. We don’t want to fall short; we don’t want to let other people down.
How does this speak directly to me? I keep forgetting that I am not the person I was 20 years ago; I’m not the same person I was yesterday. My experiences have changed me, have made me stronger than I would’ve ever imagined. Yet, I still ask myself: Who am I to assume I can be a writer? Who am I to think my stories are important to the world? Who am I to write a screenplay?
“I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal—when it was only a step away.” (Alchemist viii)
My guilt keeps me from dedicating time to my writing. I compare myself to others who have been pursuing their dreams longer than I have with more talent than I have, who have never achieved their dreams.
“This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest.” (Alchemist viii)
Besides, I am a good mother. My children come first, even though I tend to yell at them more if I don’t allow myself to write. I tell myself I will find joy in my sacrifices that I make for my family. I like it when people say I am a saint for doing what I’m doing. However, the “saintly aura” blinds me from seeing the truth.
“But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.” (Alchemist viii)
I am worthy. I am here to teach through my writing. I am here to speak truth into the lives of those who are ready to listen. Today, I am listening to my own advice.
Now that I have finished this post, I have a screenplay to write 🙂