I was terrified when I contemplated going back to school to complete my Masters degree. To be truthful, I wasn’t a terrific student, although I had always excelled in the workplace. My fears about school were so strong that every now and then, the subject turned up in my nightmares. Usually, I was running to get to my class and would realize that I had not studied for the final. (Which, of course, was happening right at that moment.) In the nightmare, I could feel the anxiety coursing through my body as I asked myself why I hadn’t attended the classes or prepared appropriately for the exam. This scenario played itself out over and over— whenever I was feeling anxious in my life.
Yes, I had fears about school and succeeding. So, when I made the decision to go back to school, you can imagine what an obstacle that represented to me. I began to tell people my plan, with the hope that every time I shared my news, I would become a little more self-confident about the path I had chosen. This was my dream and the only thing that was stopping me from going after it was my fear.
As you know, every time you share your life plans with someone, you run the risk of receiving a negative reaction. I remember vividly sharing the news with a good friend who reacted in a way that I couldn’t have expected. As I excitedly laid out my plans for the future, she questioned my decision.
“Why would you do that? How can you possibly be successful when you still have two kids at home? That’s not going to work”.
This cut straight to my heart. I needed a friend that supported and encouraged me to move forward. I didn’t need help with feeling any more vulnerable or unsure about my decision. I was more than capable of handling that one.
This person was a DREAM SNATCHER.
You know the type. They could be loving members of your family or long-time friends. The bottom line is that they discourage you from wanting more and believing that you are entitled to receive more. They go out of their way to share all the reasons why your decision is a bad idea and it’s not going to work.
But why do they do this? There are many possible reasons but these two are the most common.
They don’t want you to get hurt.
It’s possible that they have lived their own life following the rules and doing what’s safe. They love you and they can’t bear to see you get hurt, stumble or take the wrong path. Therefore, they will convince you to keep things predictable. They will encourage you to stay where you’re familiar and comfortable. Their pain while watching you risk this fall is so great that they feel compelled to convince you to stay “status quo”. They just can’t take the risk of having to see you struggle.
Your plans make them feel vulnerable and insecure.
Nothing is more threatening to the Dream Snatcher than watching others move forward and go after their dreams. The Dream Snatcher doesn’t have the courage to take this leap; therefore, they feel relieved if they can discourage you from taking it. Your ability to move forward is uncomfortable for them— they might have to face some decisions in their own life. When my friend asked me how I could go back to school, she really was talking about herself. This was really about her, not me.
There will always be plenty of people in life who want to give you reasons why your dream is NOT valid. Dream snatchers are everywhere and they’re more than happy to go into detail as to why your dream will fail. Be sure to surround yourself with individuals that encourage, empower and support your efforts to go after your dreams and live life to the fullest.