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When Dreams Don’t Come True, What Do You Do?

When Dreams Don’t Come True, What Do You Do?

When you’ve lived long enough and your dreams don’t come true, what do you do? How do you continue living with a sense of happiness and balance in your life? After all, not every life ends happily-ever-after. In fact, few do. There are those individuals whose lives are more fulfilled and rewarding than those of others, but there is undeniable truth in the statement by Nineteenth Century American transcendentalist, philosopher, author and poet, Henry David Thoreau: Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

Does this sound familiar? Have you led a life of quiet desperation? Is the song you hoped to sing one day still in you as the sunset of your life fast approaches? Do you harbor uncomfortable, even sorrowful, thoughts about perhaps not being as successful as you hoped to be, not being the best of parents; not being a worthy spouse, partner, son or daughter, movie star, celebrity, corporate executive, concert pianist, good friend, competent teacher, college graduate, Ph.D. or winning coach? Do you lament the fact that you never found that perfect love? What dreams never came true for you?

So, when dreams don’t come true after a life of struggling and working for them to materialize, what do you do? How do you continue moving forward mentally and emotionally when you realize the goals and objectives you’ve held close to your heart and lived with on a day-to-day basis, perhaps even on a minute-by-minute basis, will never be? What then?

The answer is actually quite beautiful. Every cloud has a silver lining, and every great sorrow has an equal joy. No coin is devoid of two sides. The sorrowful, painful, broken or unrealized dreams many of us live with can lead us, if we’re aware, to a spiritually, supernaturally, sublime and noble life as the embodiment of grace and gratitude – two of the most powerful and majestic virtues of life.

Grace is a state of elegant acceptance of one’s destiny and station in life wrapped in the warm blanket of humility, peace, poise, aplomb, refinement, attractiveness and positive reflection. People who have grace exude a natural beauty, nobility and magnetism not found in normal people. Always positive and forever cheerful, such souls bear the slings and arrows of life with great and grand benevolence. They are rare jewels in a landscape of sand and weeds.

Gratitude is being thankful for whatever comes our way, even if what comes our way is frustration and sorrow for the dreams and things that never were. To have gratitude, especially for life’s not-so-pleasant gifts, requires enlightenment and spiritual understanding. It also requires us to be balanced and centered in every step of our life’s journey.

Few souls have unbound grace. Few souls express gratitude for whatever comes their way. Most of us give thanks for the things we think are blessings, such as money, power, fame, fortune, worldly success, a perfect mate or relationship. Yet, how much grace and gratitude is not expressed in people who have these so-called blessings? Do they not often express arrogance, pride, entitlement, elitism, superiority? Yet, grace and gratitude cannot be purchased by worldly things. They can often only be achieved by being assailed with great challenges, obstacles, hardships, sorrows, frustrations, pains, disappointments and the emptiness that often accompanies unrealized desires or dreams that never were but longed for. It is the pressure and heat of the non-realized dreams that compress our spirit into the jewel of a noble soul. Try purchasing grace and gratitude at the corner store. It can’t be done. The only way to acquire such personal and supernal accoutrements is through the fires of experience.


Living with the disappointment and heartbreak of unrealized dreams knowing they will never be, can be extremely disheartening. Yet, the secret to managing them is to realize the great and grand gift of growing into a noble life and living that life with grace and gratitude – two of the most powerful and spiritually elevated of all the qualities that comprise the character of a man. They are not easily achieved, and they come at a great price. That price is often paid for by the non-realization and non-fulfillment of our long hoped-for dreams. Yet, the gift is well worth the price, for it leads us into the ecstatic realms of a noble and quiescent state of being that only those who have lived it can understand and appreciate. ~ finis

Copyright by Richard Andrew King