If you’re like me, you might be a little sick of motivational slogans along the lines of “If You Can Dream It, You Can Make It Happen.” No? I keep seeing those on my social media feed, and sometimes I want to roll my eyes at them. I find slogans problematic. It’s not that I don’t want to motivate myself or others through positive affirmations, it’s just that sometimes slogans are yet another thing that causes us to feel too much pressure. And we have so much of it (pressure) already!

As someone who was relinquished, I feel that I’ve lived a lot of my life as if directed by various slogans and clichés. I had to be Grateful. I had to be Polite. I had to Fit In. I had to Be Happy. I was a child who was given up by his biological mother and my luck changed overnight after I was adopted into a loving family that would make most kids feel safe and secure and worry-free. I was not like most kids, although I did keep my feelings to myself. I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel safe and secure and why I worried so much. The message I kept getting was that my adoption was something that was very special and that I was especially chosen. Imagine how much pressure – again – it is for a child to feel that they are chosen and special. The moment you find the evidence that you’re not, your whole identity might crumble.

That was the case with me, when I confessed about being adopted to friends who recoiled and reacted with disgust. In moments, I went from feeling special to feeling that I should be ashamed of myself. I was a victim of deception, but it was the kind of a deception everyone participated in because we didn’t know any better. My parents had to also play Happy, and I know that I wanted to make them feel proud and feel good about their choice – me. But, again, as it is with slogans, they ring false when the evidence shows things are not how they seem.

Can I really make it happen if I dream it? Wouldn’t that be getting out of touch with Reality a bit? I know that manifestation and creating your own reality is a virtual tornado on social media (TikTok gurus and Instagram saints) lately, but I am cautious about telling my clients to believe or do something that they might not be able or are ready to do it (like stay abstinent from tobacco). I am also not the type of a consultant who says you need to stand in the mirror and tell yourself that you are good enough in order to believe it. I think that working up to feel good enough and then occasionally winking at yourself in the mirror is probably the extent of how to balance self-belief and that pressure to be more than just what we are at the moment. I’m not telling anybody to limit themselves, but I urge you to stay close to Reality and find contentment where you are – otherwise you might end up wondering if there’s something wrong with you and why you don’t deserve to have your dreams come true, or whatever other manifestation you’re after. Stay realistic, stay balanced, stay focused and success will come in one form or another!

Photo by Kaylee Brayne on Unsplash


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