#MyDreamIs || Emma Wood

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My dream is not what it used to be.

 A few years ago, I dreamt I was walking towards my own death. I was with a group of people similar to me, each of us exhausted and overwhelmed, ready to put an end to our misery.

 My subconscious was on to something. In real life, the trap of comparison, never feeling good enough and always needing to feel accepted was killing my mental health, my physical health, and my relationships. Every time I witnessed something good in someone great, I would compare him or her to me. And, well, seeing as there was always someone more intelligent, with a flatter stomach and a wittier tongue, there would always be a reason to put myself down. I wanted to be like them. I wanted their story to be mine too. I couldn’t see that beauty could be found in both them and me.

 A few weeks ago, I had a dream I was overlooking a river, a river bursting with life in the warm glow of a summer sunset. Some people were in fishing boats, smiling at the sight of others swinging from ropes attached to trees, laughing as they splashed into the water below. Others were inside a riverside house, writing and creating, whilst a crowd gathered outside, keen to see the art being produced.

I was struck by the joy. There was so much beauty in individuals being allowed to be their individual selves.

 Beauty is not singular, uniform, or conforming. Beauty is found in each individual story, manifesting itself in countless ways, free to be seen as it is.

 My reaction to others’ greatness has too often been self-deprecation.

 And, in talking to others, I’ve realised they treat themselves the same way.

 Why can’t we both be beautiful?

 My dream is no longer to be like others. Giving up on comparison and giving in to vulnerability has changed me. I have learnt the value in my own story.

 My dream is for others to see value in their stories too. It’s changed my world; maybe it will change the rest of it?