Letting Go of Grandiosity

Letting Go of Grandiositybig dreams, balance, integration

Lately, I’ve been noticing how some of my biggest aspirations actually hold me back from living fully.

When I started the path of personal development, I wanted to find enlightenment. I didn’t just want to wake up or be more loving, I wanted to totally be like Buddha or Jesus! When I discovered photography, I wanted to have fancy shows at famous galleries. When I started writing, I wanted to sell millions of books, be rich and tour the country! I’m not saying we shouldn’t dream big, but for me, if they are too far from where I am, I feel overwhelmed and disempowered.

Even more limiting, I hold myself to ideal states of being that I’m realizing are impossible to attain like being joyful in every moment. Yes, I can aspire to feel more joy in my life, but that doesn’t mean I should expect to feel joyful all of the time, and when I’m not, to then criticize and judge myself for not being in that ideal state.

This relates to idealism and perfectionism that have pervaded my life for many years. I can see how it has actually kept me living smaller, both because the goal is so big and intimidating, as well as the constant measurement against the ideal. This comparison brings up feelings of inadequacy, frustration, hopelessness, etc. Compassion and self-acceptance were my two main focuses for last year. As I’ve learned to accept myself with all the imperfections, humanness, failings and vulnerability, I am opening spaces for love, light and understanding to grow. This softness helps me develop compassion for not only myself, but for others as I see the commonality of our challenges in life.

So how do we aspire to great things, yet find joy and satisfaction in ours lives as they are now?

I still working on this, but I have glimmers of understanding filtering through my mind and body. I’m noticing that the more often I relax, accept and even applaud who and where I am now, then the more often I feel a spaciousness within that invites joy, peace and the motivation to take action that can move me toward those big dreams and goals.

I’ve also learned that smaller, easier and consistent steps have a better chance of creating lasting change than grandiose actions and plans.

For me, it’s not a case of either/ or, but rather how to let both be OK. How to have big dreams and focus on small doable steps. How to want more in life and accept my current life. And if I have to pick one, then I choose to enjoy today rather than aspiring to some future greatness.

And finally, no matter what happens, I’m practicing compassion, gratitude and kindness along the way to my destinations.

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36 thoughts on “Letting Go of Grandiosity

  1. You know, you might not be a bestselling author or a world famous photographer, but you do touch people’s lives with your writing, your photography and your spiritual insight, and that is what counts, right?
    I think both Jesus and Buddha would agree with me there 🙂 If you spend your life trying to make the world a better place by sharing your insight, inspiring through your photography and touching people’s heart with your writing, then I think your life is pretty succesful!! 🙂

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    • Thank you for your kind and helpful encouragement Trini. I’m feeling overwhelmed about work and money again. I agree that if my writing and photography help or touch others, then I have maybe added some good to the world. 🙂 Thanks for your love and support. 🙂

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  2. I can so relate to this today Brad! I’ve recently been coming to similar conclusions about reconciling myself to the small tasks at hand while keeping my heart desires for the big dreams alive. Mindfulness meditations have been really helpful!! Blessings on your journey.:-) Shelah

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      • For me, it’s more about trying not to even think about the growth part (which I struggle with immensely at times) and forcing myself to focus only on the moment, on today. To be and do for this day only. Any goals or plans I may make rarely go beyond a week or two into the future, a month at most. I haven’t always been this way, in the past I was always a big planner, but this way serves me better me now. It helps me worry less and enjoy life more. Although, it’s still a daily discipline, hence the “forcing” of myself I mentioned earlier. 😉
        Also, my faith helps a lot, knowing that God has got my back and that I don’t have to worry about tomorrow helps me enjoy and live for today. 🙂

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      • Thanks for being open and vulnerable Julie. I’m sorry for your strugge, but it confirms my ideas that we share many challenges and by being open and vulnerable we might find solace, connection or even new ideas. I’m glad you have your faith and focus on enjoying the moment. blessings my friend. 🙂

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  3. I agree, making our dreams and aspirations too large can be a real problem, I’ve felt like this too. In fact most people I know seem to do this and then feel a bit of failure. But the good news is – none of us failures – we just dream big! 🙂 And I don’t think anyone has failed if they don’t feel joy all the time, that’s sounds quite human, quite normal not to.

    Beautiful picture too! That’s the kind of mountains I would love to see in real life one day – I never have – yet!

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  4. Thanks Suzy, you are a wise young woman. I agree that we are not failures, but inherently good, loving people that sometimes just need some help, love and/ or acceptance. I like your persective that we just dream big! 🙂 And thanks for reminding me that I have seen some beautiful places in the US and Canada. blessings to you!

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  5. It is great to have dreams and goals but i think they need to be realistic. It’s OK to aim for selling a million books or have sell out gallery exhibitions for our art, but from zero that is a quantum leap.

    We need to take a step at a time. It’s a bit left brain, but the acronym SMART is useful to work from;

    S – Specific
    M – Mesasurable
    A – Achievable
    R – Realistic
    T – Time limit

    Baby steps to achieving whatever your dreams are!

    But right now, as Trini said above, you are touching so many people with your uplifting and joyful posts Brad 🙂

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    • Really agree with a step at a time. Lately I’ve been reading the book Journey of Souls … when you think about the progression of all our lives, it’s clear what a truly long journey we’re on. I pace myself 😉 Sometimes I’ll reach a new understanding, like I did some years ago about negativity … Wow, it really wasn’t serving me. And so I come to a decision that I really want to change something, and then make a leap ahead. I try to work on (only) one or two things at a time. I also believe that growth is something that opens up naturally for me when it’s what I want.

      I really like a quote I saw somewhere along the lines of, Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 15.

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  6. Thanks for the encouragement and good reminders Robert. I’ve seen the SMART goals before, but not used them lately. And I’m delighted to hear that you and Trini find value in my writing. 🙂
    blessings across the pond!

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  7. Dude, are you sure we’re not long lost brothers or something? 😉 I know that this is going to sound like exaggerated hyperbole (yeah, I know – it’s redundant for effect), but this may seriously be the best post I have read in the past year, primarily because it hits so incredibly close to home.

    I struggle so much with the same things you detail. I feel like I need to have some lofty goal or ambition in anything I do – writing, playing the guitar, learning a new skill – there has to be a reason or some symbol of my mastery or accomplishment. And, as you have so adeptly stated, it totally sucks all the innate fun and enjoyment out of the activity itself. I spend so much time hyper-focused on “what could be” sometime in the future that I am missing out on what is directly in front of my eyes right now.

    As with everything, there needs to be a balance. As you say, it’s OK to have those lofty ambitions so long as you are actually appreciating the present and living fully in the here and now. Small, consistent steps filled with compassion, gratitude, and kindness – your advice is simple, yet profound and beautiful. Thank you Brad – really, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow Dave, you are most welcome. I’d be happy to be a brother and friend. 🙂 I’m very touched by your words. It is always scary to open up and be vulnerable, especially when going against the grain. I believe in sharing openly and vulnerably. Thanks for confirming my choice and reminding me of the joy in finding common connections. I’m glad you find value in my words and ideas.
    to balance, enjoying the present and friends! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your very welcome, my friend – authenticity and vulnerability are my two guiding principles in most everything I do, including my writing. It is always inspiring and comforting to find individuals who share these common values 😉

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  9. You know the truth when you hear it, it resonated deep down in the soul. And so it is with your post. Sounds like you are in a very good place and that makes me very happy for you. Wishing. You all good things, big and small- Lisa

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  10. So much of what you said could have come out of my own heart, Brad!! This is a super post full of introspection. So funny as my son texted “ok Buddha” to me the other day when I was trying to give him good advice! If only 😉 Much love to you Brad ❤

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  11. Wonderful thoughts, Brad! I relate very well. Yes, perfectionism is paralyzing. I look at that great ideal and know I’ll never measure up, so why even try? Small and steady steps toward creating what we want is the way to go. And accepting where we are/what we have. Thanks for writing this.

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  12. This is a brilliant post, Brad. So insightful, thought-provoking and useful too. And this is one of the questions for the ages: “So how do we aspire to great things, yet find joy and satisfaction in ours lives as they are now?” And I think you gave us answering some clues in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post! Take the Middle Path always. Grandiosity is usually a sign of total imbalance of energies for me, and with a Gemini moon grandiosity can come with the territory. I am so happy that you are seeing Presence as the path opener. Wonderful post, Brad.

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  14. Interesting post ~ relates to a talk I had with one of my best friends at the start of the year. He often had great plans, large and impressive (and he know people in places that could make it happen)…but things never took off. We’d talk about it after every disappointment…and it wasn’t until he instead focused at the grassroots level where he not only found inspiration but have never seen him happier.

    There is indeed something to this lesser road, as it is where the appreciation and real life is located…brilliant post Brad ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Randall. I’m glad you and your friend have discovered the beauty and value of the other road. 🙂 I’m definitely still needing practice and reminders. I really appreciate your kind supportive words today. I guess I’m needing more compliments and you have given me a nice boost today. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing the ‘lesser’ road and lightening the load.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s funny how our visions go to the bestseller list and the sold out gallery, but not to the years and years of writing, or photographing– of honing the craft and engaging the art with the full of our being. Well, it’s not funny, but it seems to be the way of things. If we love what we discover as we engage the creative process, I think we’ll keep doing it. One of the best moves I ever made was allowing myself to write and be creative without having any concept of where it would go. It is rewarding now, in and of itself. I think you are saying much the same thing here.

    The crazy thing is that we know deep down we’re greatness itself, but that’s not really socially acceptable to accept. So, we have to adopt some sort of process to rationalize getting closer to this acceptance. We convince ourselves we have to work at it… that one day… one day… we might get there. We pay attention to the missteps and the faults, even though it is our paying attention and our insistence on their meaningfulness that keeps them recurring. Greatness is probably an idea we should all abandon, unless we’re willing to apply it to everyone we meet… 🙂

    Michael

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  16. AMEN brother Michael. 🙂 Let’s see and help encourage the greatness in everyone that isn’t dependent upon performance. Maybe my writing is developing for the same reason, that I don’t have too many expectations. blessings my friend,

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