I’ve heard that the process being born is the first traumatic but necessary event we experience in life. It’s easy for me to believe that it’s a distressing experience to be pushed from comfort of familiar surroundings through a space that feels too small and into a world filled with unknowns. We are thrust out of the dark and into the light. We welcome the world with a powerful first breath and we are free, we are unaltered, we are unafraid, and we are perfect.
Many believe that the first three years of life contain the most dramatic and rapid growth and development of any stage of life. In the first three years of life children learn to crawl, walk, and run. They become aware of themselves as individuals, imaginations bloom, and curiosity overflows. Every day is full of surprises and everything is new and the most ordinary activities become extraordinary adventures. Love is given and received unconditionally and there is no such thing as impossible. The foundation for life has been laid.
I have no doubt that this is the case but I also believe that some people, and I count myself among them, experience the first three years of life twice.
Sometimes without even realizing it we lose sight of who we are and what we were meant to be. And we wonder why we feel lost and uncertain, unfulfilled and afraid. We begin to search for happiness in all the wrong places. Some people throw themselves into their career, others into their children, and many find ways to retreat from the world and hide behind vices and false bravado.
Some of us are afraid for the world to see us as we really are and we pretend really hard to be what we think others want us to be. We shut out our family and friends in an attempt to convince ourselves that everything is all right and we pay far too much attention to the voices that say you can’t, you shouldn’t, your ideas are crazy, and your dream isn’t practical or possible. I think we confuse the definition of success with the size of a dream.
We’re not all meant to be astronauts or actresses and we don’t have to achieve fame in order to live a fulfilling life and to make a difference. We don’t have to be wealthy to be happy. Our books and poems don’t have to be published best sellers to inspire, but they do need to be written and they should be shared. I believe that the dream should be to express ourselves in whatever form that might take. What greater dream can there be that to live life to its fullest potential as defined by who we are and not who we think others think we should be.
Note that I didn’t say who others think we should be, I said who we think others think we should be. This is an important distinction. And one of the things that I’ve learned in the second first three years of my life is that if we don’t speak with conviction about who we are we give others no choice but to derive their own perceptions based on how we behave.
The voices that drown out the dreams can be so loud that we forgot we ever had them and we mistake our society’s definition of success to be the measuring stick in determining whether or not a ‘dream’ is worth pursuing. We may believe that not only dreams but our very essence is lost because of the circumstances we find ourselves in and we lose sight of the fact that the voice of the loudest naysayer in the room is our own.
to be continued…