Joseph, 19, explains how having a dream and a goal to work towards has helped his mental health, and shares his tips for making your dream a reality.
Life can be difficult sometimes. Being a Black person from London, it can be even more difficult. This is because of some of the negative stereotypes people might have about me. It can sometimes feel constricting, as these stereotypes can make you feel inferior.
For instance, when I am walking around in public I feel looked down upon at times. And I don’t think it’s right when I do speak up that people are surprised at my ability to speak ‘proper’ because of their preconceptions. I asked one of my friends and he described it as the world viewing us as being “a step behind.”
When I am walking around in public I feel looked down upon at times.
Sadly, some of these attitudes towards Black people can seep into the Black community. For example, when I was ten I was told “I don’t act black,” which at that age led to me question my identity and change little mannerisms to be a more ‘stereotypical black person’. As a result, I can see why other Black people feel like they have no option but to behave a certain way, even if it’s not authentic to them. But nobody should have to change themselves because of what society expects from them.
Luckily for me, I didn’t change completely because “I had a dream.”
I’ve put “I had a dream” in quotation marks on purpose because it makes me think of the famous speech by Martin Luther King, in which he said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I like this quote because it always reminds me that your skin colour shouldn’t pressure you to act in a certain way, because you are more than your skin colour.
Nobody should have to change themselves because of what society expects from them.
“I had a dream” also has another meaning for me. When I was 11, my primary school took part in IntoUniversity. It is a charity scheme that helps disadvantaged young people gain a place in higher education. Here, I was told about university and I began dreaming of going.
Your dream may not be university, it may be music, acting or football, but whatever it is, don’t be afraid to dream and dream big. This is because a dream means that you have a goal, which drives you. It is this drive that allows you to overcome the odds, whatever they are - for example, negative stereotypes.
Your dream may not be university, it may be music, acting or football, but whatever it is, don’t be afraid to dream and dream big.
So now take a moment to think about your dream and write it down. Don’t worry if it feels unachievable now - remember that anything is possible!
Now that you have a dream, how do you move towards making it a reality?
Make a plan
Unfortunately, we can’t just have a dream and expect to just get there. We have to make a plan. A daily routine is a good idea because it’s the small habits, like how you spend your mornings, how you talk to yourself or who you share your energy with that add up to create big results. For instance, if you spend two hours building a skill every day, that is 730 hours a year.
Remember the bigger picture
Rome was not built in a day. You cannot expect your dream to be reached quickly, especially if it is very big. So don’t worry if you go through a period of time where it feels impossible to work towards your dream; you can come back to it when you’re ready. That said, every little action towards it will bring you closer.
Pray for luck on your journey
To reach big dreams, luck is required. However, that shouldn’t deter you if you keep striving towards it because “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Dreams can change
Don’t be afraid to let dreams go sometimes. Not every dream is bound to come true. However, by striving for a dream you find out more about you. For instance, things you enjoy doing and things you don’t like doing. This means that the next dream you have will be better informed and you’ll have more tools to achieve it.
I hope this has helped you think about what your dream is and what you can do to get there. Having a sense of purpose can be really powerful for your mental health. But remember that it’s not about the destination as much as it is the journey that you go on to get there.
Remember that it’s not about the destination as much as it is the journey that you go on to get there.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
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