How To Know When It's Time To Give Up On A Dream
Sometimes, when things seem to be falling apart, life is actually falling into place. When it comes to dreams and life plans, moving forward can sometimes feel like giving up.
But sometimes, a fulfilling life grows from knowing when to let go of one life experience and trade that vision for a new one. Savoring what you've learned along the way is the golden ticket to freedom.
For the past several years, I've had a deep desire tucked into my heart to move to Hawaii. After spending years ignoring this dream, assuming desires like this are reserved for the privileged or independently wealthy, I pulled out my dream list and dusted off this desire.
Last March, I made this goal a reality by committing to live in Hawaii for three months. I decided to spend one month each on the islands Maui, Kauai and Oahu in an effort to confirm which was best for my happily ever after. But after spending 12 weeks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, my desires shifted.
Spending this much time trying out my dream has allowed me to peel back the layers and see Hawaii for what it really is. Just like every other place in the world, it too has its challenges, conflicts and frustrations.
I thought I was coming to the islands to clarify and live out my dream. And in essence, I got what I needed: I learned this dream had an expiration date.
In my coaching sessions, I have clients who ask, "When is it time to let go of a dream?" I always say, "When it leaves your heart." We can't force things to be right when they feel wrong. Your heart knows what is best for you. Trust it.
Dreams are a lot like relationships. Some are meant to last a long time, while others are designed to be explored for a shorter period. Trying on your dreams is the best way to live a fulfilled life, but don't have expectations about the outcome.
Still, you may be wondering if it's time to let go of a dream and move on with your life. Here are three simple signs you're ready:
1. You no longer feel it in your heart.
Not all dreams are meant to last forever. When you feel the dream in your heart, it is time to act. Sometimes when we live out a desire, we learn more about the dream and ourselves, and we realize it is not what we want. If you don't feel it in your heart, it's time to stop faking it and move on.
2. You feel exhausted from trying to make it work.
If a dream has exhausted you — physically, emotionally and mentally — you may feel as if it's too hard to make the desire work. And it might be time to let go. Before I left a corporate job several years ago, it was a constant uphill battle to make it into work. I hated my soul-sucking job and would cry on the way into work. It was a huge chore, and I felt uncomfortable living it out. It was time to let go of that dream so I could open up to my new dream.
3. You start daydreaming about the future.
One of the best signs it is time to move on? When you start to daydream about better ways of being. If you're living your dream but fantasizing about a new direction in life, realize it might be time to say goodbye to what no longer works.
Many people feel reluctant to throw in the towel on their dreams or certain life experiences, because of the sinking feeling they've invested a great deal of time, money or energy into it. But when you can turn your attention to the lessons learned and the positive outcome of living out that dream, you'll be able to see the bigger picture. Remember, everything is connected, so nothing is ever lost or wasted.
Sometimes letting go and moving on is the best thing you can do for yourself.
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