Making Peace With Lost Dreams
Unfulfilled expectations are a type of loss. We all have dreams and ideas of what we want in our lives, often with us since childhood. We dream of career, romance, home and family, success, wealth, travel, and adventure, to name a few.
It’s exciting to pursue dreams, and when we see them coming true, it’s easy to be happy. But things change, and life never turns out exactly like we dreamed or planned. No matter how we try, we can’t control all people and circumstances—that’s not how life works. Even if we fulfill lots of our expectations, nothing lasts forever.
So, we all deal with different types of loss. Some losses are overwhelming, and dealing with them requires a lot of time, grieving, and often professional help. Some lost dreams can sneak up on us and cause underlying unhappiness—feelings of anger, resentment and disappointment toward ourselves and others.
With any loss, even the loss of a dream, one important thing to give ourselves is compassion. Our heart cries out for understanding and kindness when we’re feeling a loss. Continual judging of ourselves or others for whatever role we played in the loss is a trap we can get caught up in that only creates more suffering.
What we need is TLC—supportive friends, sometimes groups or counseling, but always we need to take care of our own heart and acknowledge it if we’re grieving. It’s okay—all of our feelings are okay. We don’t have to believe anyone who says we should feel a certain way—feelings exist whether they should or shouldn’t. The most important thing we can do is honor and respect them. We need to wrap ourself up in the circle of loving kindness and take care of our heart, and do this often, whenever the feelings come up. We can always start by being there for ourself.
Here are some affirmations that may be helpful reminders:
When feelings of unhappiness or loss come up, I encircle my heart with love and compassion.
All my feelings are okay, and I accept myself completely.
I no longer cling to expectations. I appreciate and live each day to the fullest right where I am.