I once heard that our dreams and ideas for our future are like seedlings and that in order for them to grow it takes time, nurturing, but also a lot of positive praise and patience. It also takes the right people to know about the seedlings, which sometimes can be a very select few. There is nothing better than the person who mirrors our own excitement about our dreams and encourages us forward. However, have you ever, in your excitement about your dream, your new best thing, told the absolute wrong person only to be disappointed by their reaction? We all know them, the naysayer, the balker, the minimizer, the worry wart…they can be like the four-horseman-like quartet that destroy dreams from the outside in. They are the ones that say, “Ha! That will never grow here!” or from the balker, “Why are you trying to grow something like that? THAT will never work” or the minimizer, “That thing is so small. I grew that when I was like 5!” or the worry wart, “Are you sure that in growing this plant it is not going to destroy the very life that you have built??????” (That worry wart is probably a little on the dramatic side…we will call them Drama Queen Worry Wart).
Now, those that have these reactions don’t always intend to stomp on your seedling of “now broken dreams” (now who is being dramatic), and often they have their own reaction based on their own fears, concerns, remorse, regret, etc. in their lives or concerns for yours. I am also not at all suggesting that these people are this terrible source that come raining an apocalyptic hail on your little tiny plant on purpose. No. Often those that we trust with our news are those closest to us, those whose opinions we value highest, which makes the disappointment so real. Do you have a close family member who you love dearly, but you know that every time you tell them something you are excited about, you end up being hurt by their reaction? Do you have a friend that is going to make your good news (that is in its early stages of growth) about them? We all have those people in different points of our lives and we love them dearly, despite their flaws, as they love us dearly….despite our flaws. They play an important role in our lives….even though one might consider exercising caution when flying to them with our new, great news! Sometimes we feel that we have to tell someone right away or “first” because that is a “family rule” or “friendship rule” yet, we get blasted with negativity every time we tell them. We need to recognize what dreams we want to let grow to a sustainable height, before we tell those people who are important in our lives that are not always the most supportive. This is also is about knowing who those people are who will encourage our most fledgling seedlings, keep confidences; those who we can tell our “most developing” news to and they not think us off our rocker.
Knowing the difference takes a lot of love, knowledge and acceptance of those people in our lives and who they are, and of ourselves, knowing who we are as well. Sometimes we need to love the people in our lives enough to know that while they may be the best person to go to for some things, they are not the best to go to for others. It is also about knowing what our own underlying intentions are in the telling of our news. Sometimes we tell the people we know might be critical of our dreams, just so we don’t have to be the one to throw the dirt on our own dreams that we believe cannot be achieved. That is knowing ourselves enough and loving ourselves enough to step back and say, “Why am I doing this when I know that they will be critical?” It is loving ourselves enough to soothe ourselves through the anxiety of what-ifs, not be our own version of the apocalyptic horseman by destroying what we have created from the most intimate part of ourselves, push through and say, “Okay, I can do this and I deserve this.” This is also where going to a good therapist can help you sort out your own patterns, and go through the rocky work of personal development and relational stress in your life.
Here are a few things to consider when we have a new dream or some news we are just dying to tell a family member or friend:
1.) Pattern: What has been their reaction to this type of news in the past? If you know that every time you tell them happy news they dump in negative, wait until your dream has become a little bigger and stronger before you talk to them. Are they worriers that think of everything that could go wrong? Wait until you have relieved your own worries and are confident enough to move forward to tell them.
2.) Intuition: If there is a nagging voice telling you….maybe I shouldn’t tell this person right now….listen to it. Chances are that is your intuition speaking up for a reason. Wait for a time where your intuition and confidence gives you the go-ahead.
3.) Timing: Is this the right time to tell them? If your best friend just broke up with their girlfriend or boyfriend and they are a drippy heap on their couch….probably not the right time to tell them you just met the man or woman of your dreams. Exercise your own sensitivity. Also, have you allowed enough time for your dream to develop and become strong before you tell them?
4.) Confidence in your creation: Are you confident enough in your dream that even if they do nay-say, balk, minimize or “catastrophize” it is going to roll off your back? When are you going to know that the seedling is strong enough to withstand a negative reaction?
5.) Honesty Be honest with yourself. Ask the question: Why do I want to tell them about this dream or good piece of news? Is it just that I want to tell someone? Or is there a particular reaction that I am hoping from them (either negative or positive)? Sometimes these questions are very hard to answer honestly because what we want to believe about those that we love may bump up against the reality of what they can give us, which can be a difficult pill to swallow. Evaluate the role that criticism plays in your life and recognize how you deal with “constructive criticism.” It is one thing to hear constructive criticism and think, “Okay, haven’t thought of it that way” and move forward….another to spiral downward into shame and doubt of yourself and your dreams.
If you love mnemonics, yes, those items above spell “PITCH,” an interesting word that can mean throwing something at someone, launching an idea, the angle which holds up a roof, or a black sticky substance like tar that some native Northwest legends tell us is used by a witchy woman to spread over the eyes of children who stray too far in the woods (ala Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel…apparently the woods were not the place to be). Like this word’s many definitions, we often have a myriad of reactions that may come our way when divulging something truly important to us and it is important to exercise caution. We want to make sure that, like the definition, we don’t throw our dreams out there too hastily, launch it to the wrong person, divulge before our dreams are stable, and definitely not trust it to someone who is going to wipe tar in our eyes in order to eat us for breakfast. Trust those that are going to see the potential in what you are trying to create, encourage you forward and watch with you as your dreams grow stronger.
Have you ever told someone about a new dream or good piece of news and it not go as planned?
What has been your experience with this?