When humans care about someone, it can be challenging to nurture goals and listen to dreams. Goals and dreams are different. A goal has a plan broken down into specific action items. Each action item is doable making the goal attainable. A dream is emotionally based. The are no doable action items, yet. A dream is unrealistic in its current state. A dream can become a goal with nurturing and developing planned action items but is not initially. This is important to consider in relations with people we are close to because the way that we respond to each thought type, dreams or goals, should be different. Nurturing the dreams and goals of people we care about is beneficial. Challenging goals can be help achieve goals while challenging dreams can be stifling.
Crushing My High School Girlfriend's Dreams
In high school, I remember listening to my girlfriend tell me about her dreams for the future. She dreamed she was going to live in Europe, be a writer and artist. She dreamed that she would also act in plays. Hearing her dreams made me sad because deep down I knew she could do all of those things (she was annoyingly talented) and none of her dreams included me. Imagining myself in her dreams—I couldn't go to Europe on a whim. How could we afford to live? What about my dreams? More directly, her dreams didn't include me.
I retorted with dream-crushing pragmatism towards what she had told me. I brought up how quiet she was, "How can you act on stay when you can barely talk in front of a class of peers?". I asked her how should would afford to live in Europe and be a writer/artist. I followed up with where I stood in this whole fairytale dream—"I wasn't considered once!". I recall her face after my comments. She clenched her lips. She'd been silenced by me. She didn't say anything else about her dreams to me after that moment. I'd cut into her dreams and I'd blocked her from sharing ideas that probably made her happy—her dreams.
Dreams and goals are differing thought types. They are closely related but different! Goals are broken down with action items. Dreams are ideas without action items. When a person communicates a dream, it should be listened to and encouraged. Dreams offer people an outlet from the structure and demand of everyday life. When a person communicates a goal, questioning it's action items can help greatly in achieving success. From the outside, it may be clearer for others to see flaws or opportunities for improvement in goals. The subtle difference between dreams and goals are subjects of much unhappiness to humans in their most important relationships.
Dreams (Daydreams) Are Important to Human Happiness
Everyday life is mundane. We live in our own skin every day and sometimes that is unglamorous and stressful! Dreams assist in allowing us to escape our everyday life. We explore ideas, places, and things that are not realistic in the moment.
An example of a common dream pattern happens when adults are in unionship and begin considering growing a family. These thoughts demand serious consideration. Unsurprisingly with the stress these changes and the sacrifices involve, dreams that seem directly opposed to these changes come up. It would be hard to go into building a family without considering the freedom of singularity so dreaming about another path is natural.
Dreams may not be unrealistic forever but they are until action items are provided to make them achievable, they're feelings that make us feel good or different than reality.
Goals Are Important to Success and Fulfillment
Goals often start out as dreams. With specific actionable items, goals can be achieved. Once a goal is a goal and not a dream, challenging and critiquing it can provide benefit to a goal's success.
In adult life, goals often exist in work environments. Work environments often require established goals. Goals start with ideas. Ideas (goals) are broken down in action items that help measure a goal's progress and success. When trying to achieve a goal at work, ideas that can challenge and spead the process are greatly encouraged.
The benefit of challenging goals versus pain that can be felt by challenging dreams is important for relationship growth and individual happiness.
Misreading A Goal Or Dream
In my example with my high school girlfriend, I was envisioning her dreams as goals—realistic plans that didn't include me. I attacked them with realism which probably hurt her and the relationship. This is a common thing that happens when humans listen to people they care about say something that seems life altering. Comments like, "I want to travel the world!" or "I want to quit my job and live off the land!" can mess with listener's mind if they take the comments seriously. Some people do travel the world, but most don't do it all at once and definitely without a fair amount of plaining first, hopefully. Same with quiting jobs and living off the land. There are people that do that, but, hopefully, not without a lot of planning and foresight.
It is important when listening to people we care about that they feel open. Feeling open and listened to is important for people to be able to love and share. This is why understanding the subtle but important difference between a goal and a dream is important in humans' close relationships. When a person a human is close to shares a dream, probably all that is needed is to listen. If it is clear that the person is beginning to plan out a dream, turning it into a goal—that is the time to offer feedback and insight. In both scenarios truly listening is important.