Permission to dream.

We all have hopes, dreams and aspirations, right?  Some we talk about openly, others we hold tightly to ourselves, too embarrassed to share for fear we’d be made fun of for dreaming something so fantastic. But they’re what drive us to conquer each day, to push further, explore, overcome barriers, learn.

Can you imagine not having any dreams. Not aspiring to do something big, accomplish more? I can’t. And yet I have discovered this status in some of my patients. One in particular has no dreams to hang his hat on, no desire to have goals to reach for. Am not sure if he actually has none, or if they are locked up so far away in his being and he has no inkling that they are there or that he can unlock them. Like many of my patients he comes from a family with low-education, they struggle financially and the family just manages to live day to day – in everything they do. They have so much on their plate, that they don’t even have the brain space to plan for the future or even imagine/give themselves permission to dream.

But everyone deserves to dream, have goals and be passionate about something. I have also learned that without those, you value yourself less…and are less apt to take care of yourself.  I want my patient to value himself, to take care of himself, to dream big.  But it doesn’t matter what I think…it really only matters what he thinks. I have to constantly temper my natural tendency to want to impose my values and beliefs on him. What’s right for me is not necessarily right for him. My job is to help him find the window and then help him look through it and see/understand that he has a choice and tools can be made available for him to choose to dream. From there, it’s up to him to decide.

The other day he had achieved one of the small physical activity goals we had set the week before and while I was over the moon happy, he was completely neutral. I said to him that I was incredibly proud of him and that he had the right to give himself permission to be proud of himself. He gave me one of his usual responses to me with a look that said, “Ok, Jane…but you’re nuts”. But this time there was a twinkle in the corner of his eye.

Maybe he’s seeing that there might be a window.

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