There seems to be a lot of pressure to find our passion and purpose in this life. Whether we’re starting fresh out of school or recalibrating after starting a family, most of us will eventually wind up in a self-reflective pit wondering what we’re supposed to do with our lives. Many of us, feeling lost or unfulfilled, find ourselves looking for direction only to see someone pointing a giant foam finger towards fulfilling a dream.

Dream chasing is heralded by many as the key to finding lasting happiness and success. We all want more, whether it’s recognition or material success or the thrill of accomplishment, so it makes sense that we would jump at the chance to grab hold of our deepest desires. Who wouldn’t want to open up to all that’s possible in this life?

The reality, however, is that a lot of dreams don’t come true. Some dreams come at too high of a cost and leave us depleted after failing to achieve our goals. Some end in a public failure that is downright embarrassing. It happens to the best of us. Knowing that disappointment and heartache is a definite possibility, we hold ourselves back. After all, who wants to waste all that time only to wind up empty-handed?

So this begs the question…do we chase our dreams or not?

First, get your big fat PURPOSE out of the way…

Although your dream may actually be your purpose for being put on this planet, that’s too much pressure to put on yourself…and your dream. It will suck the life out of you both.

Plus, have we forgotten that survival takes up a lot of our energy? Even without illnesses or disabilities, meeting the basic necessities of life for you and those who depend on you is a full-time job. That’s before you start fielding the curve balls like layoffs and accidents, natural disasters, and global pandemics. Simply surviving, in spite of the uncertainty and chaos of our existence, is everyone’s purpose. And it takes a lot of time and effort.

The way I see it, inherent in the act of surviving is the underlying purpose we’re all searching for….discovering our humanity and learning how to love ourselves. Even if we’re past surviving and onto the search for meaning, happiness, or wealth, we still end up on the same trajectory. Life forces us together, tears us apart, and breaks us wide open so we can see our true selves and realize how inherently lovable we all are.

So maybe we don’t need to put so much stress on finding our purpose through dreams or anything else. Maybe we’ve already stumbled into the big one.

Don’t forget that dreams are often pathways WITHOUT a destination…

Sometimes a dream is EVERYTHING, but sometimes it’s simply a pathway to follow. It’s one of many directions you can choose for your life, but don’t worry, if you don’t proactively choose one – life will gently nudge you in one direction or another. You don’t need to frantically search for the one thing that will make or break your life experience. Any journey you wind up taking will be worthwhile, whether you choose it or not, because your life is worthwhile. Period.

But if something calls to you, why not follow it and see where it leads? It might take you to fame and fortune, love and adventure. Who knows? You might be the one to make your wildest dreams come true! Everything you ever wanted and more! It could be epic!

I think what matters most is how it makes you feel to run after something. A dream should be something that makes you happy. Something that makes you feel alive. Everything in life is difficult at some point, but the hard work and sacrifice it might require won’t matter if you find joy in the process. Unlike some of life’s challenges, dreams you get to choose. So choose something that makes your heart sing! Just don’t be afraid to let it go if it starts to choke your spirit.

You don’t need a DREAM COME TRUE to complete you…

At the end of the day, you are already enough. You are worthy and wonderful just as you are, so there’s no need to hang your future happiness on anything that isn’t already yours. Whether it’s a prince, a corporate promotion, or a record deal…you don’t need something else to be happy.

You can find happiness now and along the way. Notice the beauty and wonder all around, delight in the gifts we all bring to this planet, and celebrate our survival day in and day out….that’s where happiness begins. The desire for more and the journey to attain it, that’s a bonus adventure you can choose to take. Or not.

If in the middle of all this surviving, we find ourselves desiring something more, that’s awesome. If we can grab hold of it, even better. If somehow we can muster the dedication and strength to overcome our fears and all the obstacles standing in the way in order to chase it, hot damn! Then, if we’re lucky enough to wrangle that dream into a physical reality that we can touch and feel, freaking fantastic. Throw a party!

However, if you find yourself chasing a dream and falling flat on your face, don’t fret. That’s just life reminding you that you are expansive. You can get up and keep running, move onto a new dream, or set the dream free. You get to choose. You may not get the end result you wanted, but your efforts will always be rewarded with the realization that you are more than you once thought. You’ll discover you’re more talented, capable, strong, determined, fearless, and ambitious than you ever imagined.

And so…

Remember that a dream is simply your heart’s way of leading you back to yourself so you can connect into your vast potential and learn to love the whole of who you are. Like a bus, you catch another one if you want. Or you can stay put and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful life you’re already living.

Dream big, dream small, or not at all. Just stop pressuring yourself. You’re already enough.