Thursday, February 25, 2010

How and Why We Stumble Into Substitute Dreams

This week I've been thinking about how sometimes we discover that we're in a situation that doesn't seem to fit us and we begin to wonder why we ended up there in the first place. I've found myself asking the question of "how in the hell did I end up here, doing this" on more than a few occasions. I usually equated it with my tendency to get distracted, to randomly explore whatever looked or felt good at the time, to be easily influenced by the desires of others to the point where those desires felt like they were also mine. Then there were those times when I thought I wanted something, but found out that it really wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't what I wanted anymore because I'd either been lying to myself and others about who I really was, I'd outgrown the reason for wanting it, or I just simply decided that what I had to give up in order to keep myself within a particular realm was not worth what I would receive if I let it go instead.

This was before I discovered that I wasn't really crazy or indecisive or lacked the ability to follow through. No, I was just being a typical HSP. At least I think. Perhaps there are other sensitives out there that have a different perspective, but I often find myself swept away by a source of inspiration, whether old or new. Swept away in the sense that you become it, for a moment or perhaps longer. Swept away in the sense that you get lost in the feeling of aliveness that it brings and you do anything you can to chase it and grab onto it, with the naive belief that it will last.

This was before I discovered that I would often merge who I was with who someone else was, without deliberate intent. Without realizing it, their thoughts, desires, feelings and beliefs seemed like they were mine. I didn't or couldn't yet recognize the difference between me and someone else once I had absorbed their energy. So, sometimes what they wanted out of life suddenly became what I wanted. Or so I thought until I would rub the sleep from my eyes, wake up, look around and say "I don't know who I am or why I'm here."

This was before I discovered that it's okay to want to explore something and then move on when you're done learning the lesson you were meant to learn. It was before I received validation that sticking with one thing for a lifetime isn't necessarily what HSPs are meant to do. Not that we can't, but we're often the ones who eventually master something in a shorter amount of time and feel the need to find something else to keep us interested. In fact, I've learned that being absent-minded and getting bored easily can come in handy. The more benevolent expression would be "the dance of curiosity." The key is to not beat yourself up for wanting to change and grow more often than our non-HSP counterparts. The other key is to allow yourself to move on when you're ready, don't feel guilty, and smile in reflection at the part of yourself that you now have that you didn't before.

Yes, that "dance of curiosity" has brought me into many substitute dreams. Substitute dreams that seemed like "it" at the time; the "final destination." Now I realize they were like a series of dress rehearsals for opening night. Without them I wouldn't know how to survive in a city with a population larger than 80,000, how to listen to my inner voice, how to handle disappointment and rejection, how to be persistent, how to stop being a people pleaser, how to stop worrying about perfection, how to laugh, how to love, what I want from a partner, how to stop denying myself what I really want, how to give, how to stand up for myself with conviction, and most of all, how to stop trying so hard to become what I think I should be and just breathe into who I really am. Curiosity has a purpose. We stumble into substitute dreams because we aren't ready. We need a little "character research," if you will. We need to explore and practice before we can perform with conviction and believability. We need to discover and learn before we can transform into our destined form.

You see, substitute dreams give us what we need to make the real one come true.

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