On Letting Go of Dreams
My heart is hurting – and shattered – over letting go of a long-held dream. It’s a brutal, soul-sucking time and there are days when I feel so incredibly overwhelmed that all I can do is breathe.
It’s the times when life just relentlessly pounds you into the ground that you learn your own strength. After nearly a decade of pursuing a very personal dream, I received a flash of insight that I was simply beating a dead horse. Nothing will make that dream happen no matter how hard I work; no matter how many positive affirmations I say; no matter how much gratitude I offer for the tiniest shred of life.
The deafening silence is that of doors and windows slamming shut so hard that my brain is rattling.
As a child, whenever I felt the sting of loss, my mother would tell me to quit whining and say that “someone always has it worse”. True. Very. True.
What this shiny pearl of wisdom ignores is that we all have big, deep feelings and hopes and dreams and wants and needs and when they crash to the ground, you’re allowed to mourn.
Despite what you hear, life is not a competition. I’m not going to feel bad about feeling bad simply because your heartbreak is bigger or more life-altering than mine.
Letting Go of the Emotions
It’s okay – even good – to sit with your broken heart and all the swirling emotions. I DIDN’T SAY WALLOW, I SAID SIT. There’s a whole lot of people walking around with bad backs, lung and liver problems, impaired kidneys, chronic pain – any number of physical issues – because they didn’t deal with various emotions when they happened. They just stuffed them away because it was too painful to deal with at the moment.
Stuffing your emotions down the rabbit hole because you’re intent on proving just how tough you are isn’t being strong. It’s setting yourself up for major physical and emotional issues down the road. Again, I’m not talking about wallowing, I’m simply talking about facing the emotions that you’re dealing with before life gets out of hand.
In sitting with your emotions, what I’m asking you to do is to recognize them for what they are. Sometimes, simply writing down on paper all the emotions that are swirling around inside of you can take away some of their power. Then write down WHY you feel these raw emotions so deeply. Again, seeing what you’re dealing with in black and white (or whatever color of pen you use) gives you a different perspective about what’s happening. In this manner, you can let go of some of the rawness.
I’m not going to lie. It takes courage to face something that has altered your life – it does. And that’s where holistic life coaching comes in. I needed some help dealing with all the shit that went down. Yes – life coaches help each other and have each other’s back and I’m so very grateful to be a part of this beautiful and amazing profession.
Along with coaching, I began using a blend that I created to help women deal with emotional aspects of menopause called – oddly enough – MenoPause Aromatherapy Roller Ball. If it helps to balance your emotions when your hormones are on a roller coaster, why not use this during times of extreme emotional distress? I’m grateful to tell you that it has helped me tremendously to deal with the emotional roller coaster I’m riding at the moment.
The Emotions of Grief
For me, tough times require that I go “underground” and by that I mean isolating myself. I need time to process, work out what I did wrong, what I could have done differently – anything to find some semblance of closure.
Isolation may not work for you. You may have a hectic schedule, children that need you at 100% or you may simply dislike being alone. (If that’s the case, we definitely need to talk.) It’s all good. Even a thirty-minute soak in a tub full of Epsom Salts and Lavender will help you process.
What I don’t think is good is rushing headlong into situations that you may find emotionally challenging and threaten your already compromised sense of peace. Create your own sanctuary of peace – whatever that may be. Can you walk around the block? Can you pull weeds in the back yard? Can you paint something? Can you write it all down and then burn it? Listening to your favorite music is a wonderful way to soothe you – just don’t listen to songs that will rip your heart to shreds.
Put a name on your shattered dream. Understanding the why of it all – the vision of your dream and what it meant for you – it takes some serious self-compassion, but will help to provide closure.
What’s really important is to find the perspective in the whole mess and this may simply take a bit of time. Don’t discount or disrespect yourself or anyone else because they mourn a dream. That dream is real and it’s wired into your brain. That’s where a trusted friend or holistic life coach can help you.
Try to find the courage to form a new dream. I found a wonderful article by Rokelle Lerner about the loss of your dreams. In it, she talks about moving forward after sustaining this kind of loss.
For those who have experienced the death of a dream, it takes courage to dream again. Anyone who has experienced this kind of loss understands the expression, “dare to dream”. It’s definitely daring to get our hearts and minds wrapped around another vision for us. But if we’re willing to take the chance, it provides a powerful affirmation of life that feeds our spirit.
Your Spirituality in the Face of Dashed Dreams
I just gotta tell you – I’m not much of a spiritual person and religion just isn’t my cup of tea. I can only imagine how much I’m going to upset and offend a whole lot of people with that statement.
The whole point of that little tidbit of sharing is to let you know that it’s perfectly fine to step away temporarily (or forever, for that matter) from what ever supreme-being-of-your-choice you know. I’ve had to completely step away from all of it, especially the bullshit of “everything happens for a reason” or THE absolute worst: “it just wasn’t meant to be”. That makes me absolutely crazy when people say that to someone who has experienced loss of any kind be it person, pet, job or dream.
It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to be really mad at the supreme-being-of-your-choice. You know what? In the long run, YOU have your own back. You know what’s best for you. You know how hard you worked to make your dream a reality. Only YOU know how much it hurts. Period.
I will say again, this is not the time to wallow. I’m not wallowing; I simply had to take a hard look at my dependence upon some invisible dictator (the actual term for “it” will remain private) that holds my dreams hostage. All I’m saying is don’t add insult to injury by feeling guilty about grieving or stepping away from some dogma that already creates stress in your life.
On the flip side of that burger, if you depend upon the supreme-being-of-your-choice for your cup of daily strength and well being, by all means, please do. Don’t apologize for feeling the way you do. Your feelings are REAL.
What now? Well, right now, I’m putting on my happy face when I’m out in public. In private, that’s totally my business and when you’re grieving, it’s your own personal business, too. If you don’t want to share your private grief with anyone, please don’t.
But, if you don’t have anyone in your life that you feel you can share your grief without judgment (I don’t), by all means, get yourself a life coach. We’re trained to help you move through the stuck places and truthfully, I can pull it all together and help you a lot easier than I can help myself. That’s why life coaches have life coaches.
The biggest thing is to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the real (or imagined) failures and the coulda/shoulda/wouldas of life that get in the way of healing after a major loss. If it’s possible, visualize yourself stuffing all the dashed dreams and heartache into a big suitcase, taking it to the bus station or airport, set the suitcase down – and walk away. This gives you a visual way of moving forward after loss.
If you’re not sure how to forgive, this is what works for me. When you’ve been wronged and you need to forgive, try sending love and light to the person who wronged you including yourself. Even when the apology never comes – or you need to forgive yourself – sending love and light is a compassionate way to begin the process.
Here are some other ideas that may be helpful for you:
- Look for your favorite color every time you go out. This opens your heart and eyes to opportunities.
- Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. Your body does better when it has enough hydration.
- Rest just a bit more than you normally would. Listen to your body – it’s telling you important information.
These wonderful words of wisdom from Danielle LaPorte (one of my favorite authors) may also help you in your process: “If you let go of a dream, a bigger reality may appear.“ We’ll just have to see about that.
Understand that grief is different for everyone in different situations. There’s no time limit. There’s also no shame when the grief washes over you in waves at the most unexpected times. Be kind to yourself!
In the meantime, I want you to know that I’ve had my share of bumps, bruises and heartbreaks and when you need someone who has a listening ear, an understanding heart and no judgment, I’m here to be your coach and aromatherapist.
I’m at your service. Capiche?
I’m so blessed and grateful that you stopped by today. Fill out this short contact form and let’s get started moving forward today.