I’ve noticed a disturbing phenomenon lately. Whenever someone shares hopes or plans they are excited about, people gather around to shower them with negativity. People they may not even know list reasons why their dream can’t happen, or isn’t a good idea in the first place.
My plan is not so crazy. There are already a lot of people living in Miami, so clearly it isn’t an impossible thing to do. But, when I tell people that I’m moving, most of them crap all over my dream. How are you going to find a job? Don’t you know it’s muggy in Florida? What about hurricanes? They don’t just rain on my parade. A little rain I could handle. I’m from Oregon, after all. No. They poop on my parade.
The most recent occurrence was at a party the other weekend. I was layered up and wearing my coat and gloves inside because it is that cold where I live. One of my friends mentioned that someone they knew just moved to Miami and she was all excited about getting us connected. A friend of a friend is a good person to know when you move to a brand new place on the other side of the country.
A man I didn’t know overheard our conversation and decided to give me his opinion. Apparently the look of my face wasn’t enough to stop him. “Miami?” he asked. “Why would you want to move there?” I told him that I like warm weather, beaches, and big cities with tall buildings. He frowned and told me all about some viral video that showed wind tunnels going over sky scrapers in Miami. Clearly, everyone else in the country knew I was making a bad decision.
I could have told him that I didn’t want to hear advice from a man wearing double beige. But I just smiled and nodded and found the first excuse to walk away.
Then someone started in about the snakes. Oh, there are so many pythons in The Everglades. Why would I want to leave Portland? Because I’m not an outdoorsy person. I like the beach and the city, I barely even go to the park. I don’t camp or hike here, why would I start in The Everglades?
I’m getting used to sticking up for my dreams because I know what’s right for me. But it has made me stop and wonder why we go around crapping on other peoples’ dreams.
So what if your friend wants to be a prima ballerina even though she’s never taken a dance class? Your mom wants to start her own business, your boyfriend dreams of playing poker professionally, or your neighbor just bought a bed and breakfast in Mexico? We don’t have to think other peoples’ plans are right, because they are not about us. When people share their hopes and dreams, they aren’t asking for input. They are sharing. That’s it.
We may think we’re saving them from heart ache or humiliation. Or even just from losing a little money or a lot of time. But it is not up to us to decide. We’re not helping anyone by pooping on their plans.
Now when someone tells me their hopes for the future, I think of how I can be supportive. I don’t try to tear them down. It may not be what I think is wise, but it’s not my dream or my future. I have my own parade to plan.
Has anyone ever pooped on your parade? How do you feel when other people tell you what is best for you? Any advice on how to deal with dream crushers, even the well-meaning ones?