Monday, 20 August 2018

The Damage of Dreams.

photography by Madeleiine Grace

We buy ‘Dream Big’ Posters, ask children what they want to be when they grow up, and upon finishing a project comes the inevitable question ‘what next?’ Ambition is something we praise. I try to surround myself with those whose work ethic I admire. Having few career aspirations is a red flag.

Dreams are great, but with making them come true there’s pressure. We overlook the sacrifice and strain that comes with being a #girlboss.


According to moneymow.com, for nearly all age groups (except 70+), most people expect to be more happy in the future than today. This stat certainly rings true for me. I have high hopes for the future because it is what I’m working my ass off for today.

Alone, I’m cracking under pressure, yet to reach my goals. My mind is running in circles, wondering if when I get to that place, will it be enough? It’s unlikely. There’s always room for more (in this power-hungry society, where we wear our busy schedule like a prize badge.

Could that ambition we’re all so proud of, that we strive for, actually be damaging?

80 per cent of British females they put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect even though they accomplish an average of 26 tasks a day. 26 tasks don't feel enough. Our stress walks hand in hand with our to-do list, which is, of course never-ending. When we're not ticking things off, we're feeling guilty about it, lazy even. That list is infinite due to this notion of more which strips us of the pride of our achievements. Amongst curated Instagram feeds and viral success stories, the average Joe isn’t going to measure up. This inadequacy makes us more determined, more hungry for success.


My mental health hit an all-time low, I felt down, desperate and ashamed of myself. These were the repercussion of attempting to make dreams come true. I'd hear myself talk about my ambitions, and despite the work, I put in, the words felt empty. Rather than worrying about my own perception of happiness, I began putting my all into making something tangible of those dreams, which made me feel like a failure over and over again.

I came across a quote which changed my perspective. “Remember when you wanted everything you have right now”. It was a reminder that we all need to take a moment to appreciate our steps, to pause while climbing this never-ending ladder.

What is the point in working so hard, and never appreciate its pay off? Why does one day have to be so far into the distant future when we’ve already travelled miles with all the hours we’ve put in. Where exactly does success fit amongst that full schedule with no downtime? There aren’t any smiles living a life of the edge of burnout.

 How to stop ambition overpowering happiness? Take some time out. Stop worrying about the future and start appreciating the now. Keep a gratitude journal. Put your phone away, stay in the moment. Unfollow those who fill your bones with envy. Remember the to-do-list never goes away, it sounds like twisted advice, but learning I would never conquer my entire to-do-list was the most freeing lesson.

I think success is more likely to come off the back of happiness. Happy people attract good things, stressing about never being enough, will only make that into reality, instead put that energy into enjoying your day. You might even be more productive tomorrow if you show yourself a little love today.


Dress: ASOS (on sale now) | Shoes: Vans



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