When we’re in our tweens, we long to reach our teens. When we finally arrive at that sweet sixteen landmark, we long for adulthood.
As adults, many of us aren’t prepared for the mess of responsibilities, or indeed, the real-life influences that can suck out our creative soul. Time goes by, and our lives can feel a little bit out of control. That electricity bill needs to be paid, the sales meeting must be attended, and the car has to be insured, but when do we make time for the dreams and aspirations we had growing up?
As an eight-year-old, I had clear ideas of becoming an author, but it wasn’t until I reached the ripe old age of forty-two that I got around to doing something about it. For thirty-four years I’d held myself back in a variety of ways. Throughout my twenties, and thirties I often woke in the middle of the night dreaming about characters, and plot twists, but I used the excuse of an unhappy marriage, subsequent divorce, and being a single mum as a way of telling myself I didn’t have time to write.
I allowed my limiting beliefs to control my actions. ‘I’m not good enough,’ and ‘people will think I’m stupid,’ were constant thought patterns. I’d built these walls around myself, and it took many years before I realised they were preventing me from achieving my writing dreams.
In the film, The Holiday with Kate Winslet, there is a poignant moment between Kate’s character, Iris, and the adorable neighbour and screenwriting legend, Arthur (played by Eli Wallach).
Arthur “In the movies, we have the leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason, you’re behaving like the best friend.”
Iris “You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life for God sake. Arthur, I’ve been going to a therapist for three years, and she’s never explained anything to me that well. That was brilliant, brutal, but brilliant.”
I find this clip to be a wonderful reminder that by holding myself back, I'm not the leading lady in my life. When I did finally focus on my creativity and balance my dreams with all that real life stuff, I found the time to write, I discovered a passion for sharing my story, and I even built a thicker skin to deal with feedback. That belief that I’m not good enough still rumbles around my brain, but I’ve made an active choice to stop holding myself back and to embrace everything life has to offer.
Think about your own life for a moment. Are you holding yourself back from fulfilling a dream? Can you find a compromise or balance? Perhaps you’ve already made a few changes and can share your wisdom. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to drop me a comment below, or on my Facebook page.
Are You Holding Yourself Back? via @ShelleyWilson72