This post is a follow-up to this previous post: Choosing”Impossible” Challenges
Some of us have goals that may reside outside the realm of “sane” by societal standards. Those goals may involve running an ultramarathon, quitting a “secure” job to do something more intrinsically rewarding, traveling the world, homeschooling your children, starting an unusual business, moving to somewhere new… whatever. Invariably you’ll encounter the DreamCrushers.
DreamCrushers are the people that… well, try to crush your dreams. These are the people that work to keep you in line. These are the people that try to set limits on what you can accomplish. These are the people that assure we’ll be stuck in mediocrity.
So who are these DreamCrushers?
Superiority Douches: Sometimes they’re painfully apparent. These are the douchy people that bluntly tell us we’re not good enough or our dreams are stupid. These are the people that have no problem sharing their opinions of our inferiority. The internet is about with these people.
Most of the time, however, DreamCrushers are much more insidious. They’re the people closest to us. And their objections aren’t obviously destructive like the Superiority Douches.
Cautious Loved Ones: These are our spouses and family that want what’s best for us. They want us to be safe and secure. As such, they want to limit our exposure to risk. Their intentions are good, but they fill us with crippling fear. They want to place us in a protective bubble.
The Jealous Friends: These are the “frenemies” that girlie mags talk about. They put up a front of being a
fiend friend, then use passive-aggressiveness to harm us. You know, they tell us the dress makes us look great when in reality it accentuates our love handles. These are the people that seem like they want us to succeed, but then do everything in their power to thwart our efforts. This group isn’t limited to friends; they could be family members or even spouses.
The Projectionist: Freud defined “projection” as a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings (thanks Wikipedia). The projectionist expresses their own thoughts or beliefs on others. When it comes to DreamCrushers, the projectionist often relays their insecurity about their own abilities. This is FAR more common than most of us would expect as we have a tendency to frame others’ actions with our own beliefs and attitudes.
The Analyst: These people use logic and reason to tell you why you’ll fail. They’re the polar opposite of dreamers. They see the world as a set of concrete black and white variables. If your dream violates any of these variables, they have no problem telling you why you’ll fail.
The American Dreamers: These are the people that believe in the American Dream- graduate from a good college, big house, white picket fences, 1.8 kids, a Volvo or Caravan, a summer cottage on the lake, etc. This group believes you have to put in your time at a job you may not like to earn money to buy stuff you probably won’t use. Keeping up with the Jones’ and maintaining a nice appearance trump everything else, credit card debt be damned! This group assumes everyone needs to live the “dream” and cannot fathom an alternate route.
The Devil’s Advocate: The Devil’s Advocate will voice their objection to everything you do. This person usually comes off as argumentative, and will jump at the opportunity to disagree with anything society deems “unusual.” The Devil’s Advocate is easy to recognize because they almost always qualify their objections by saying they’re playing devil’s advocate. They may believe they’re doing you a service by showing you the potential pitfalls of your plans, but they do nothing to offer support or encouragement.
All of these groups can effectively kill our dreams. Why? We tend to look to those close to us for approval. Each of these ‘personalities’ withhold approval as a means of keeping us from taking a serious stab at our dreams. Since their approval is important to us, they have power over our dreams.
Knowing the motives of people in mind is important, especially when they’re trying to thwart your dreams. Don’t let these people stand in your way, even if they claim to be on your side. Understand you don’t need their approval. Go out and do awesome stuff!