The first steps towards any dream are wobbly. We need support and we turn to our family and friends for it. We tell them about our dreams, hopes and fears and if we’re lucky we are met with encouragement and validation.

Wow, that sounds amazing. I know that feeling. Wouldn’t it be cool?

But the next time we talk about it something has shifted.

If only I had more space.

When the kids are in bed I have no energy left.

I’m in an office all day; I can’t stand the thought of sitting in front of a computer when I get home too.

Had visitors last weekend, there wasn’t a moment to spare.

It’s just too expensive.

Or whatever your particular hang up is. You explain why you haven’t followed through on that dream, and your excuses are validated. Maybe it’s just too damn hard.

I’m sure you’ve done it too. Validated someone’s longing, and then validated their excuses. We do it out of kindness. After all, it is hard and we don’t want to be a pain about it.

The question is if that’s what real support looks like?

It’s easy to cheer each other on in the beginning, when the dream is rosy and new, but when it’s time for action – when it’s time for things to actually change – fears come crawling. Your own and other’s.

We’re supposed to back out then. That’s the familiar cycle. If all of a sudden you don’t, you can expect some strange reactions. That friendly support might fall away.

Is this really a good idea? Have you thought about how much work it is? Do you have any idea how much it’s going to cost? It’s not as easy at it seems, you know.

All the way from worried to condescending.

It’s often easier to gain sympathy when you procrastinate and avoid change, than when you go for it. Someone who stops making excuses and starts doing becomes a threat to those who don’t, because it invalidates their own excuses and maybe they weren’t ready to let them go yet.

You need a different kind of support. Your family might not be able to give you that, nor will all of your friends. This is important. Those who love you the most won’t necessarily applaud your changes if it means their lives will be affected too.

Writing that book might take time away from movie nights with your love. Taking that evening class might mean you don’t cook all the dinners anymore. Maybe you’ll quit the job as everyone’s helper.

Some will get on board again, once they realize you’re serious. Some will never get it. That’s ok. Maybe you don’t want them along anyway?

Go search for your tribe. Find support from people who get you and what you’re trying to do. You can do it alone, but it will take longer and be harder on your heart. Good support – on the other hand – can be your most important fuel.

 

This essay was first published at Scoutiegirl.com


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