Is Following Your Dreams Selfish?
When you were a little kid, you probably heard to follow your dreams. Whatever you aspired to be, you could become if only you worked hard enough.
Of course, reality can be harsh. Not everyone can be a pop singer or an astronaut. Even ordinary dreams, like becoming a parent or having good health, aren’t guaranteed.
But that’s not the greatest dilemma when it comes to living our best lives.
It’s the nagging question at the back of our minds on whether it’s the right thing to even do. Isn’t it selfish to pursue your dreams instead of helping other people when there’s immense suffering in the world?
Why You Feel This Way
On the surface, following your dreams can seem entirely driven by your ego. It’s one of the reasons those who follow something like the Law of Attraction are considered self-centered. The mere idea that you can have a dream for yourself and try to manifest it is absurd.
To the naysayers, the world is out to get us and anyone not on the defensive line is suspect.
And I’ll be honest with you, this criticism gets to me sometimes. I begin to doubt the right to my own happiness.
But that’s the trick. Unhappy people want to be miserable in a group. They don’t actually care about whether or not you’re helping others. That wouldn’t make them happy. Otherwise, they would be thrilled that you’re living your best life. The joy of anyone else is the reason for their outrage.
People like this believe that happiness is a scarce commodity. Dreams are therefore not something that can be achieved, but something that’s granted or stolen from a pre-determined supply.
That’s why it will help you to go back to the beginning.
Ask yourself: why do we tell children to follow their dreams?
It’s not to make them cruelly unprepared for the real world. It’s because children are considered the future. They have abundant energy and ideas that will improve the world. With each new generation, humanity expands what’s possible.
You Weren’t Born Guilty
You see it everywhere these days: don’t have children. This anti-natalism is given the veneer of compassion for the Earth, but in reality, it dooms every person born guilty of a sin they can never atone for except in death. Their individual dreams are a danger to us all.
And it’s why you feel like you don’t deserve to be happy. But your birth was not a tragedy of the commons.
Whether or not you want kids for yourself, it’s important to realize how much every individual matters. Not just collectively, but individually. Children are the future, but they’re the future because of their unique dreams, not despite them.
Your individual desires and the motivation to achieve them will improve the world. It’s individuals who come up with strokes of genius that create paradigm shifts. You are that child we’ve been waiting for.
But let’s examine this from a spiritual lens. In the Law of Attraction, the basic idea is that like attracts like. If you’re filled with negative emotions, you’ll attract negative things. But if you raise your vibration with positivity, good things will happen to you.
No one can feel 100% positive all the time, but the mechanism behind this has been proven again and again by those who sincerely try it. As Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Having a dream and working towards it raises your vibration and it radiates that positivity in the world. It creates rather than destroys.
Don’t stop dreaming. Your dreams matter.
You Add Value By Dreaming
When you came into this world, you had a life purpose. This is partly inspired by your destiny manifested in your natural gifts.
But you also have free will. Your free will activates personal dreams which expand the very universe ex nihilo (out of nothing).
A great example of this is a sculptor. This is a person who takes a rock and adds value to the world by creating an image that did not exist before in the universe. Now his sculpture might be traded or sold to someone who could not create it on their own.
That little piece of art adds value by its existence, but the artist may also inspire others to create more art or pursue their dreams.
Dreamers create. They don’t merely transfer resources from someone to themselves and hoard what they have.
Your life purpose intersects with your personal dreams when you put what value you’ve created into the world.
But some of you may have a very fair question like “How do dreams fix suffering when some people want to be artists instead of doctors?”
This ignores how people are inspired and how that inspiration has a domino effect in the universe. A child may be inspired to become a writer when they’re young, but after learning history from books, realize the importance of clean, running water for human survival and flourishing. So they become a plumber.
People don’t respond merely to greed but to their own empathy in the face of life experience.
You Were Born to Be Significant
Consider the dreams you’ve had, even fleeting ones. A child who dreams of being a veterinarian doesn’t just like animals, they want to save them. The child who dreams of being a singer doesn’t just like attention, they want to make people happy.
We have so many different needs and desires that only the dreams of the whole world can fulfill them.
Your dreams are complex and serve both you and a greater cause. Dreams aren’t just about receiving, they’re about having an impact. And the way you have an impact is by helping others by being your best self.
When we do charity or help others, we aren’t trying to make the less fortunate servants to a movement or to commiserate together. What we want is to help individuals embrace their inherent dignity and pursue their dreams.
But first, you must help yourself as much as you’re able: follow your dream wherever it leads and impact the world in your own way.
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