Being Trusted With Somebody Else’s Dreams    by    Ruth Utnage

A few years ago I recognized a problem. I was living with one of my friends and we were talking about going home, release. He expressed that one of his fears was all of us getting out and leaving him behind, doing what literally everyone else does and forget all about the years of friendships made behind these walls. I recognized two problems: he was listening to his own insecurity and low self-esteem, what Defy would call a set of Self-Limiting Beliefs and the other was I wasn’t doing a good job of being inclusive as a friend.

Trying to solve everyone else’s problems is something I refuse to do, but there are times when I recognize I can do something to improve someone else’s life and my values dictate that in those moments, I really don’t have a choice (this is part of my change, before prison, never would have cared). I too experienced low self-esteem and a sense of abandonment. I underwent some really intensive self-improvement procedures to seriously address that inside of me and I have grown by leaps and bounds and it took years. Armed with his history and my newly found understanding of building a sense of self-worth, I knew what to do. I have underwent a several years-long project that began with getting to know my friends strengths and weaknesses intimately.

I began with me. I wrote a 5-year goal plan, conducted 2 experiments (the “7 Day Positivity Challenge” and “The Head-Up Challenge”) and write about the effects of each extensively. I went through my books again and again and found things to add to my arsenal of tools, then I set out to my friends. Each had their own history, origins of Self-Limiting Beliefs, each were racked with inner doubts and that small voice inside that says “you ain’t nothin’ but a…”. I designed a program and set a schedule with each of them, none of them knew what I was doing, they would have resisted. Instead I asked them to help me solve a problem I was having, in this case I told them that I was looking for market research for a potential business and what I needed them to do was write their own 5-year goal plans and document how long it takes in hours.

One by one they agreed and within days the magic happened, each began to dream again. This is what happened with me too. Once I began to dream, suddenly I had hope. With hope came feelings of joy and happiness, resulting in positivity which resulted in better relationships. The same began with each of them. My next step was to connect them for sources of support so we began meeting regularly wherever we could, we formed our own high-functioning mastermind group. Next, we set to work on the sticky stuff inside, deep emotional work. Keeping in mind that each one had insecurity that stemmed from different places I began reading projects with each individually and together we are undertaking our own experiments that will enable them to practice these skills safely, instilling a sense of confidence and helping to shore up some self-worth, which will undoubtedly attract more sources of support.

But in all of this one thing became clear, each one privately said to me the same exact thing “Ruth, I am trusting you with my hopes and dreams and I have all the confidence in the world that you can help me get them.”. What a scary and flattering statement…but I know what to do, my next step is to remove myself as the lynch pin for their successes and turn that statement into “Self, I am trusting you with my hopes and dreams and I have all the confidence in the world that you can help me get them.”.

Now you know what friends are for…
Now you know how I can help society and my community…
Now you know what I can do for your business…
Now you know what rehabilitation sounds like…
A very HumanMe.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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