What We Dream of…

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~ Epicurus.

We all have moments that we wish lasted forever – maybe it was the first time your newborn was placed in your arms; the second you were handed your diploma; the first glimpse you had of a new land when stepping off a plane. So many of the moments we cherish as memories become so because of what they often represent: an accomplishment, a dream fulfilled, endless potential.

Have you ever had a time when you asked yourself, “How did I get here? What happened?” You may find these questions floating to mind, after months of little sleep, as you have cared for your newborn’s every need and demand. After months of slogging through online job postings, nerve-wracking interviews, and a near-constant stream of rejection. After months of futile attempts of integration into a new place that may or may not have been your choice of where to start over. When the moments we cherished do not enable continual bliss or instant peace, we’re often left disillusioned and bewildered. What happened?

In short, life happened. In other words, what we expected did not come to pass exactly as we hoped, and this often leaves us feeling blindsided. We may have said, “Yeah, now that I have this diploma, all sorts of new doors will open for me!” We then faced the grim reality that there is a competitive and even back-stabbing employment game out there, where jobs are scarce and our credentials are too little for some jobs – and too much for others. We’re left scratching our heads, whispering… “What now?” As you are asking that question, here are some suggestions that may not solve your problem, but will certainly help your outlook.

Consider some of the issues you are currently staring down, and the fact that you wish things were different. Maybe you wish you already had that high paying job, and were comfortably situated in that corner office with the view, instead of starting from the bottom of the barrel, now. It is normal to get into a habit of wishing for other, or better things – human beings are designed to be creative, productive, and always questing! But the downside of this habit of always looking for what else is out there is that it can create and feed into a sense of discontent. Discontent is like a hydra from Greek mythology: if one of its heads was eviscerated, two more would grow in its place. The more we focus on quenching our sense of discontent, the more it will grow; or it may be temporarily stanched, but it will come back and with a renewed vengeance. The same holds true as we look at our current life situation – if we are hyper-focused on what we can’t stand (the job search, the rejection, the feelings of failure and inadequacy) we will only feed that sense of discontent.

One good thing to close your day with is this question: “Did I do everything I could possibly do today, to help solve this issue?” If the answer is yes (perhaps this means you sent your resume out to three more people; you set up an interview with a head-hunter; and you attended a weekly class that will continue building your skills), then practice saying to yourself: I have done all I could do for today, and it is enough. I am choosing to put this down for today, and it will wait for me until I am ready to pick it up again tomorrow. If the answer is no, for whatever reason (you are only human, after all, and no one has a perfectly productive day), practice saying to yourself: I am a human being, and I cannot be perfect. Everybody has days when they don’t get it all done, and it will be there for me tomorrow. I am choosing to put this down for today, and it will wait for me until I am ready to pick it up again tomorrow.

We may not be living the exact life we expected, but consider those moments that you still cherish: at one time, those were your hopes and dreams not yet fulfilled. Don’t practice feeding your discontent and thereby miss the beautiful present moment that at one point, you dreamed for!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is intended to educate, inform and entertain. This does not represent psychotherapy, therapeutic assessment, or any other form of therapeutic intervention. This should not be used as a substitute for consultation and treatment with a licensed mental health professional. If you have questions related to the material contained in this site please contact CCM or a licensed mental health professional of your choice.

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