Daydreaming is sometimes frowned upon by people because it’s an activity that some believe is a waste of time. What some people may not realize is that daydreaming allows our creative side to take over. When we daydream, we give ourselves the okay to think about all the possible answers to the question “what if?”
Daydreaming can also give us the freedom to think, and to reflect on what is and isn’t working in our lives. For example, if we’re not happy at our job, we can daydream about a job that will make us feel fulfilled, more effective and happier. Daydreaming can also help us to map out and create action steps towards obtaining that better job.
It can be helpful to remember that during the times that we allow ourselves to think about all of the infinite possibilities that we become limitless. Happy daydreaming.
Photo by Tyler Nix
I think it’s safe to say that most of us at some point in our life have had to deal with self-doubt. Sometimes the reasons behind our self-doubts are easy to pin down, while other times we struggle to figure out what’s causing the self-doubt. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Self-doubt can stop us from applying to a dream job, approaching a potential mate or even starting a new project. So why do we doubt ourselves? What makes us doubt that we’re capable of completing or achieving something? Some people may say that it has to do with a lack of self-esteem, while others may say it has to do with not having the skills we think we need to accomplish the task. Some would even go as far as to say that we develop self-doubt after we fail at something. In any case, self-doubt has a way of causing us to limit ourselves. Sometimes we may struggle with not focusing on our failures and regrets. Thinking negatively about ourselves and our past mistakes, can become automatic and cause us to feel stuck or unable to move forward. It’s good to remember that self-doubt and negative thoughts, can be combated by being curious about what’s happening internally, and by focusing on positive thoughts and outcomes. If you’re struggling with self-doubt, ask yourself “what is it that I’m scared of?” And “what will I miss out on if I allow doubt to stop me from having _____?” It can be helpful to think about the many good things you’ll gain from not allowing self-doubt to stop you. Additionally, I think it can be helpful to also ask yourself when you feel self-doubt creeping in, “am I sabotaging myself and if so, what will I get out of it?” Sometimes change can be so scary that we allow self-doubt to stop us, so that we can remain in a place that feels safe (because it’s familiar and we know what to expect) even though we’re unhappy.
In moments of self-doubt, try to also focus on the many successes you’ve had throughout your lifetime. I bet there are many amazing things you do each and every day that requires a lot from you, whether it’s raising children, dealing with stress at work, supporting friends and family or participating in physical activity. Self-doubt doesn’t have to rule your life. Through curiosity, reflecting on our past successes, and the benefits of what we’ll gain if we don’t allow self-doubt to stop us, we can achieve whatever it is that we desire.
Photo By Redd Angelo
I recently watched the movie Blindspotting, which takes place in Oakland. It was fun and interesting to see many familiar streets around the Town, and to witness the movie characters as they tried to navigate the gentrification that’s happening in the Bay Area. I won’t ruin the movie for you but will only say that there is a lot of subject material around identity and labels. I walked away from the movie reflecting on how I’ve struggled at times with the many labels and traits that make me who I am as person. I also thought about how natural it is to do a lot of questioning and searching as we try to figure out who we are while remembering that some of the ways in which we identify in this moment, can and may change in our lifetime.
As I’ve continued to reflect on the movie, I’ve thought about what it means to be something (whatever that may be) and the conflict that can arise within ourselves when that something is challenged by other people, or when other people assign a label or trait to us that we don’t agree with. For example, say you think of yourself as a generous person and then someone tells you that you’re a selfish person. It can make you feel crappy when someone tells you that you have a negative trait. We may feel discomfort and emotional pain when other people label us as something that we don’t identify as because the label can cause us to negatively question our awareness or thoughts about ourselves. These negative labels can have a lasting impact on us which can be hard for us to let go of.
I think it’s important and healthy to reflect on and challenge a label that someone else gives to us, that doesn’t feel right. Sometimes during our reflecting we realize that we need to do some work to grow into being a better person. While other times we get to practice not internalizing negative comments about us by other people. I do also think that it’s important and healthy for us to reflect on, and question, our own thoughts and perceptions about ourselves when a label is given to us by a person we know, trust and respect. I think it’s safe to say that because we as humans are so complex that we don’t always see or acknowledge all the traits that make us unique. Sometimes the people that we know, trust and respect can show us the parts of ourselves that we don’t see. These special people in our lives also provide us with the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and what makes us so unique.
Photo By Darius Bashar
I recently saw a couple with a young baby hanging out outdoors, and both of the parents were on their own smartphones. It made me think about our society’s love affair with our smartphones. I think if we did a survey, most people would say that they can’t live without their phones. I think some would even go as far as to call their phone their best friend. How did we get to this point? I remember when pagers/beepers were all the rage. But then again, we didn’t have access to what feels like unlimited information when we had pagers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like some people have begun to miss out on unplanned and magical moments that happen in life. You see them (or you may be one) going about their daily activities outside of their home, but only look up to see the world around them for a few seconds to make sure no one walks into them, to see who sat down next to them, or if their it’s safe to cross the street. Sometimes I sit and wonder at what point (or even if) we’ll stop being okay with missing out on the unplanned and amazing moments that happen in life that don’t involve our phones? You may be thinking to yourself, what amazing moments? There are LOTS of amazing moments and videos I can see on my phone. You’re right. There are lots of funny, fascinating and cool things to look at on our phones but there are also opportunities we miss out on when we’re looking at our phones. Like for example, maintaining your relationships with your friends and family members. Studies have found that many people say that they feel lonely even though they may have Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat accounts. I think we can forget that we need other people. Let me be more specific, we need to interact (hugs, kisses, gazing into eyes) in real time with other people. I think it’s easy to miss out on these magical moments with loved ones when we’re on our phone from sunrise to sunset. Also, when was the last time you watched the sunrise or sunset WITHOUT trying to get the perfect recording of it so that you could post it to social media? I think we miss out on making memories (in our long-term memory) because we’re too busy trying to include our phone in the process instead of just being present and being okay without having a digital record of the event. With that being said, I challenge you, the next time you’re out and about to put your phone away so that you can see some of the amazing things that happen when your fully present to what is happening around you at any given moment. I bet you’ll learn or see something new that’ll leave a smile on your face.
Photo by Julia Caesar
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.