Realize Your Dreams

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“We have to live in such a way that we realize our dream every day. We all need a dream to nourish us and give life meaning. We can even ask our parents, Have you realized your dream? Can I help you realize it?”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Our society is structured in such a way that many of us bounce from one authority to the next throughout our lives, from parents to teachers to employers, all of them with their own moralistic rating systems, their appraisals of our behaviors as good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable.

Is it any wonder that we don’t realize our dreams when we aren’t given the space to consider what they are, when our entire psychology is tinged by relationships to various authority figures? The great psychological pull of living under authority, which amounts to living under a moralistic code implanted from without rather than an ethical code decided upon from within, is that meaning is given, we don’t have to work it out for ourselves. The existential anxiety cued off by uncertainty is kept at bay, and this is what authority of all kinds offers and why many of us grow comfortable living under it despite the nagging sense that the price we are paying is our personal development and self-actualization.

The question to ask yourself is “What can I do today to start realizing my dreams?” We understand that work is a necessary component for survival in our modern world, that you can’t just up and quit your job, but don’t use this fact as a blanket rationalization. There are 168 hours in a week not 40. In the deeper psychological sense, what is holding you back is probably not the lack of time but rather the uncertainty we discussed above, uncertainty that comes from willing your own meaning rather than having it handed down to you. It’s not your fault that you were born into a situation where life is structured around authority, but when you gain this awareness, when you see the truth of it in your own life and how it might be holding you back, you gain a tool to help you make an informed choice that aligns with what you really want rather than what you’ve always been told you want.