"What I do isn't up to you"- street poetry in Yaletown
“What I do isn’t up to you”- street poetry in Yaletown

“Our dreams are not futile. They do not spring from our egos. They have their roots in our souls.”-Julia Cameron, Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance

When I was a child we used to sing this song: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names (words) will never hurt me.” Even as a child, I wasn’t fully convinced that this was true. Now, as an adult, I know it’s not true. Words DO hurt, words DO have power.

It’s an all too-common story. You have an idea and think it’s a great one. You share it with the wrong people and they disapprove and criticize you making you feel dejected.

I’ve come to be more private about sharing my own dreams. The vulnerability of  sharing one’s dream is something I think naysayers don’t often consider. I believe when we have a dream it is only natural to want to share it. It’s a bit hard at times to guess how people will take it. I may not understand someone else’s ideas, after all, they’re not me. But still, why not encourage them? I love hearing people’s visions for the future. In a world where it looks like there are less and less dreamers, it’s refreshing to encounter enthusiastic and ambitious people.

I know that for me my dreams  have been given to me by God, and they are part of my purpose here on Earth. So in a sense there is already Someone in my team. Even so, it feels comforting to know that people in my life believe in me

Dreams are often not easy  to follow through with, so the last thing we need is to surround ourselves with negative people who will make it even more stressful for us.

We can see the impact of human ingenuity all around us. Looking at all that we’ve accomplished, especially in the last century, should be more than enough inspiration for us all. I look to the literary world and I find so many people who went against the odds.  Chinua Achebe, one of my all-time favourites, was told by the European publishers (the only ones available to him at the time) that his type of literature wasn’t marketable. They laughed in his face. Who would ever be interested in reading African literature anyway? Well, I think we have the answer to that; over 15 million copies of Things Fall Apart have been sold globally.

I hate sounding like a self-help manual but I have encountered so many people in the past few weeks who felt down because someone shot down their dream. All they needed was one person to tell them that they believed in them. I get the feeling that some naysayers are either bored, unimaginative or, dare I say it, jealous? In the past week I met someone who wanted to be a MMA fighter. I don’t like that sport but good for him! Why can’t he do it?It’s obviously something that makes him happy. Even if he doesn’t achieve that dream it may just be the first step that will lead him on the path to an even larger dream.

I feel like I’m exhorting myself. It took me a long time to get over my naysayers. At first I felt like they knew something that I didn’t, now I realize that it was they that were missing something; they weren’t me therefore didn’t know my heart and my determination (although I would say that  doesn’t mean that they were at liberty to shoot me down). Us humans would probably get a lot more done if we had positive cheerleaders surrounding us instead of naysayers. At the same time, welcoming critique isn’t a bad thing but it’s always easy to see who is trying to help and who just wants to be negative.

Langston Hughes- A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


14 thoughts on “Naysayers

  1. This is so well said, Rowena, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a new author, I’ve faced many, many naysayers… I’ve felt discouraged, but never let it alter my determination. Now, I refrain from giving too much detail regarding my dreams and goals. But some people still will have negative things to say. Sigh. I just try to keep going and focus on the positive…

    1. Thank you, Adria. I often hear authors voice your concerns as well. It really makes me annoyed when people are so negative. I hope you’re surrounded by great people who support your writing:)

  2. Sadly it is the voice of my family (some long gone) who repeat in my head in terms of naysaying. Only (more) hard work, time and loads of practicing will change that sagging heavy load. Great post.

      1. Perseverance is the only way to get there. And I’ve been fortunate in so many other ways … so I have no excuses. Your piece just spoke to me, in its beauty. So thank you. ❤

  3. Great post. I think one of the best things we can do is to truly surround ourselves with supportive people. And even when we have naysayers, let’s believe in our dreams. I sometimes suffer from self-doubt or wonder if I’ll ever accomplish the things I want but I know it’s possible with God. Thanks for your post. And by the way, “A Dream Deferred” is one of my favorite poems 🙂

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