You've Got A Ton Of Dreams. So, Why Aren't They Manifesting?

"Send your dreams to places you can't reach; they will go there and they will pull you up there!"—Mehmet Murat ildan


It's interesting that, if you look up definitions for the word "dream", a lot of times you're going to see something in reference to the images that go through our mind when we're sleeping. It's really only when we take a look at some of the word's synonyms that topics like today really start to resonate. Synonyms like ideas, thoughts, notions, wishes, desires—these are all things that most of us are referring to when we talk about the dreams that we have in this life.

The irony is, while we usually want to make our "awake ideas" come to fruition, far too many of us literally sleep on them. That's really sad because dreams don't come to us for absolutely no reason. More times than not, dreams serve quite a profound purpose in our world. We've simply got to do what it takes to make them come true.

If you've got some dreams and you feel like you keep "hitting the wall" when it comes to trying to make them manifest, perhaps this article can connect a few dots for you. Life is short. Dreams are valid. It's important to do all that we can to make them manifest. Ready?

Can You Explain Each Dream in Two Sentences or Less?


When it comes to making your dreams come true, clarity is key. That's because, if you don't really know what your vision for your life is, how can you fully manifest it? That's why I'm such a big fan of encouraging people to sit down and figure out how to define each dream that they have—in no more than one or two sentences. For one thing, it can help them to get a greater understanding of what they desire to accomplish. Plus, when something is reduced to fewer words, it can feel a lot less overwhelming and so much more doable.

For instance, say that you've got a dream of being a writer. Cool. Now, what kind of writer? An entertainment writer? Someone who has a relationship blog? An author? And if an author, published or self-published? After knowing what you want to do, it can also help to jot do why you want to do it. Then you're able to start setting some realistic short and long-term goals. Make sense?

I definitely think that one of the main reasons why a lot of people are not able to make their dreams happen is because they keep referring to them in vague and abstract ways. The more you are able to clearly articulate your desires, the easier it will be to make them manifest for you.

How Realistic Are Your Dreams? (Now, Hear Me Out)


I've got a friend who says you can spend years working on areas where you are mediocre and do just OK or you can put that energy into your strengths and excel and thrive. That said, I come from a family of singers. Some pretty darn good ones too. For whatever the reason, I wasn't really encouraged and nurtured in that area and so, it sometimes catches people off guard whenever they hear me do it. Instead, most folks know me as a writer. And while I do think that I can hold a tune, I tend to think that singing is a talent for me while some of my relatives? For them, it's a gift.

What's the difference? To me, a gift is something that is almost supernatural. You were born with it. It comes pretty easily to you. You're able to blow other people's minds—and sometimes, even your own—with a particular ability. A talent is something that you're pretty good at, yet it will take a certain amount of effort to excel in that area. That's one example of what I mean by being realistic about your dreams. Are you trying to progress in a gift or a talent? If it's a talent, are you being realistic about how much time, effort and energy you're willing to put into it in order to make something happen?

Another angle on the realistic approach is the fact that being realistic is rooted in logic, facts, truth and common sense. Say that you've got a dream of becoming a chef with your own television show. Yet you only like to cook certain things. You've never taken any kind of cooking or media classes. Your bank account is close to zero. You have no equipment in your house. You hate to network. In fact, you have absolutely no idea what it takes to make that happen. You've just seen some folks on YouTube or TikTok and said, "I bet I can do that." It's kind of a play-on words yet the reality is that a lot of people's dreams don't manifest because they are more caught up in the fantasy of what could be rather than the factuality of things. While I do believe that nothing is impossible, let's be real—some things are more probable than others. When it comes to your dreams, what side of the fence do yours land?

How COMMITTED Are You to Your Dreams?


If there is one word that can separate a lot of people from success and failure, it's commitment. I oftentimes tell couples that I'm working with that if they constantly only focus on what makes them happy at any given time, they probably won't get much accomplished in life. Why do I say that? Happiness is a great emotion and experience. It's also temporary and doesn't really encourage much self-discipline. Going to work doesn't always make us happy; it pays the bills, though. Working out doesn't always make us happy; it's still good for our health. Letting go of a person, place, thing or idea that no longer serves us doesn't always make us happy; it's simply best for us in the long run.

Along these same lines, having a dream is one thing. Remaining committed—obligated via a pledge—to it is something entirely different. Commitment requires focus. Commitment requires maturity. Commitment requires putting your feelings aside, sometimes by overlooking how you feel in the now, so that you can do what needs to be done for the sake of your future. Commitment requires resilience. Most of all, commitment requires integrity.

One of the closest people to me has a billion-and-one good ideas. They stick with each one for about two weeks before moving on to something else. Sometimes it's because they allow themselves to get distracted. Other times, it's because they become impatient. Know what else? Sometimes it's because they claim they are no longer "happy" with the concept.

There are a lot of folks out here who will never see the fruition of some of their desires because they would rather be happy than committed when, more times than not, commitment, more than "happiness", is the key that unlocks a lot of doors. If you're not willing to stick "it" out, through the good and challenging times, you're gonna have a really hard time achieving success. Just ask any successful person. They'll vouch for this very point 1000 percent.

What Do You Do to Devote Yourself to Your Dreams? ON THE DAILY.


On the heels of what I just said, "devoted" is a word that I tend to hear less and less. Unfortunately. Sadly, folks are so fickle out here that they only really do what they feel like doing—and chile, that can change from day to day. When it comes to making your dreams happen, I don't care how much natural ability, resources and even favor you may have, if you're not self-disciplined enough to "plant some seeds" (and then nurture them) into your dreams on a daily basis, that can also hinder you from seeing anything really play out in the long run.

When it comes to putting daily time, effort and energy into your dreams, while what you do may look different from day to day, you still need to focus on them on the regular. One day, it may be putting a short-term goal together. Another day may be hitting up your mentor for some insight and encouragement. Another day might be actually doing something that will get you closer to your goal (writers write, designers design, artists make art). Another day might be all about networking and marketing. The point is, a true dream manifester is always thinking about how to get closer to what they want and then doing something—even if it's baby steps—to make it happen. No excuses. Ever.

Is Your Mental State in Alignment with Your Dreams?


Negative people. Moody people. Petty people. Envious people. Bitter people. These are some of the biggest obstacles when it comes to getting your dreams to where you want to go. Matter of fact, not too long ago, I read a tweet that said something along the lines of, "Your biggest haters are the people who used to be your friends." Lawd…LAWD.

I once read a pretty good medical-based article that said that negativity comes in all sorts of forms—cynicism; jumping to conclusions; blaming; catastrophizing (making mountains out of molehills); emotional reasoning (basically letting your feelings supersede common sense and logic); hostility, and filtering (only seeing things through a negative lens) were some of the things on the list. And gee, when you look at negativity from this perspective, it would definitely seem as if there are a lot more negative folks out here than positive ones. Since negativity can affect your immune system, hormonal balance, sleep patterns, emotional stability and ultimately, even your longevity, if you want to make your dreams happen for you, you've got to be super intentional about leaving negativity alone. Keep naysayers at bay. Protect your energy. Give yourself the kind of pep talks that will get you through each project and milestone.

There is a spiritual kind of warfare that happens when someone has a dream that can ultimately make the world better. You've got to keep this in mind so that you can stay as positive as possible in order to make your dream(s) come true.

Do Your Dreams Complement Your Purpose?


It seems like, at least once a month, someone will ask me how I got my book deals. Did I get a literary agent? Did I hunt down publishers? Did I have to turn in a couple of chapters of an idea before getting an offer? The answer to all of those questions is "no". Both publishing deals were offered to me and I think it's because, since they both aligned so much with what I am called to do, the universe made the deals happen for me. The books complemented my purpose which is helping people in the covenant principles of marriage, sex and the Sabbath.

Another example of where I'm going with this particular point is my godchildren's mother. Rissi Palmer once made history as a top-charting country music artist. Long story short, all hell broke loose in her life and she took a break. She got married. She had kids. Yet she still created music in the meantime. Something that I kept encouraging her to do was a podcast. She is such a walking library of country music that it only seemed right. Eventually, she started one. And then, almost immediately, dots began to connect. Someone heard it and connected her to Apple. And y'all, when I say that the rest is history—you can check out her CBS This Morning interview from this past March (right here) to get an idea of how life is going for her these days. How did all of this happen? Her dreams of reviving her platform complemented her purpose which is not only singing but opening doors of other female country artists of color.

If you read enough of my content for this platform, you'll notice that "complement" is a big word to me. When something (or one) complements you, it completes or helps to perfect things in your life. When it comes to your dreams complementing your purpose, an article on Mind Body Green's site that I definitely recommend that you make the time to check out is "10 Signs You've Found Your Calling". It shares points like mystical things will happen, when you get off course, you'll get redirected and your health will start to improve. Why? Because when your dreams complement your purpose, your dreams help to perfect said purpose and, since your purpose is the reason for why you exist in the first place, how could you not become more complete by everything coming/working together? Right?

Have You Factored Timing in?


Another friend of mine is a master of timing. You can try and compel them to do something and oftentimes they will be like, "Yeah. Not now." When you ask them why, they don't really have a solid reason other than it doesn't feel right to move at that particular time. And yet, whether it's weeks, months or sometimes, even a couple of years later, the universe will align things in their world in such a way that, not only do they get what they want, they end up with more than what they ever wanted.

There's a Scripture in the Bible that says that everything has a season, time and a purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:1). One of the things that I like so much about that is all of those words work together. The right things happen in the right season, at the right time, and for the right purpose. Otherwise, it's not the best thing. That said, on a spiritual plane, whenever I think of timing, I think of a quote that states, "Be careful about rushing God's timing. You never know who or what he is protecting or saving you from." (LISTEN) Then, in a broader sense, another quote on timing that I appreciate is, "Timing is everything. When you're really ready for it, it will come."

Whew. That last one speaks to ego. Some of us get frustrated when our dreams don't happen when we think they should yet many times, God knows that we're not as ready as we think we are for them to manifest. We might not be strong enough. We might not be mature enough. We might not be responsible enough. YET.

While there are many things that we can control in this world, for the most part, one that we honestly can't is timing. So, if while reading this, you honestly believe that you've done all that you can do (have you?), perhaps you need to chill and just trust timing to do its thing. Because when things happen at the right time…it really is for your best in the long run.

Are You Absolutely in Love with Your Dreams?


A couple of years ago, something I wrote for the site was entitled, "Like, Love & In Love: How To Really Know The Difference". When it came to the "in love" part, something that I touched on is it's pretty close to impossible to be "in love" unless the person you love is "in it" along with you. That's because "in" means to be in a place, position, or type of relationship and "with" means to be accompanied by.

I know this is about to be some red pill thinking but…while you're out here thinking that you're in love with your dreams, have you ever pondered if your dreams are actually in love with you too? If they are lining up with your feelings and beliefs, so that you two can walk this thing about together? If that sounds like a crazy question, look at it this way—true love removes obstacles like pride, ego and arrogance. That said, let's not act like there aren't a ton of people out here whose dreams are rooted exactly in those things. And because of that, they aren't really in love with their dreams—they're in lust with the idea of what their dreams can do to further feed into their pride, ego and arrogance.

Dreams? More times than not, they are pure. They are precious. They are designed to bring out the best in us. If some of your dreams sense that you've got some cryptic or shady agendas…well, they may not love you as much as you "love" them. And so, they—and the universe—will actually do things to hinder your progress until some honesty, humility and gratitude—instead of that doggone sense of entitlement that so many folks tend to have—come into play. This is a good thing because the last thing that any of us need is for our dreams to become our worst nightmares.

While these eight points cannot guarantee that your dreams will become a reality, what I can assure you is the clarity these things are able to provide will get you closer than you've ever been—or position into a better spot. In the meantime, no matter what your thoughts, ideas or desires may be, don't doubt them. If they are meant to be and you're willing to put in the good work, they will manifest. In due time. The universe totally has your back on that.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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