In the Western world, maybe especially in the United States, we are strongly encouraged if not outright pressured to "dream big." Imagine the most audacious, ambitious, powerful version of yourself you possibly can and then spend your life striving toward it, we are told.
There are a few things off about this for me.
First, and maybe most obviously, why does everyone need to be ambitious and audacious with their lives? What's so wrong about a more modest, humble existence cherishing the "smaller" beauties in life? And what's so noble and good about a "big" dream? The constant need for bigger and more so often leaves us exhausted, discouraged, and unfulfilled.
But maybe more than that, just as with our sleeping dreams, we rarely if ever truly choose our life's aspirations. Sleeping dreams simply arise in our consciousness, almost as if a gift from the universe or from the unconscious aspects within us. We can think of our life's aspirations as just like this. They arise within us, waiting to be caught and acted upon. We do not choose what we dream. At best, we can choose which of our many dreams we pursue.
So here's my invitation: Don't pressure yourself to dream big. Just dream. Dream all the dreams that come to you. Some may be "big" and audacious. That is wonderful. But they are just as likely to be "small" and modest. And that is just as wonderful.
In the grand scheme of the universe, all our dreams are impossibly small. And in the context of our time as individuals here on Earth, they are all significant. So allow yourself to follow whichever ones feel most true, most alive, most beautiful to you, whatever the size may be.