Learning to Dream

Robert Santis, Life Coach

I used to believe for the longest time that I was not “good enough”. I used to perceive myself as a person who would always be alone. And I used be scared to dream and would shut out my dreams, and have no confidence that they would ever come true. That was my view before InJOY.


To have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something,
although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so:
To recognize, discern, envision, or understand:
An aspiration; goal; aim:
a wild or vain fancy.

Growing up as a kid I had been raised in a Christian home with Christian beliefs, but I was told what to believe in and what was right and wrong. I was raised with a set of precepts, and I was told, “If you don’t do this, things will be good for you.” But they were just a bunch of rules. Beliefs are something you have to have confidence in, but instead I lived out of fear and had no confidence. I was raised with the belief that I just have to try harder, and that what I lack in “skill”, I have to make up for with “effort”. Then, maybe then I would have a belief that would be firm. Maybe, I would be confident in my accomplishments. I lived under the shadow of being “Good-Enough”, but it blocked me from the light! But that is where relationship comes in. You see…

Rules without Relationship bring Rebellion, and that is where my heart became bent. But in my God, in my friends, and in family I am learning to peel off the wounds of rules and learning to grow deeper in relationship. You see…We pick up a lot in this life, but we never “Believe” that we can shed it. And this is a change I have experienced since working here.

You see, our members have a lot of rules and they have a lot of baggage that they have had to carry throughout this life up to the point where you NOW have intersected with them. This is a population who has been told “No” time and time again, and they have “tried” to do better, but many to no avail.

You see, we have this unique privilege to then intersect and provide something that very few people have ever provided them, and that is “Relationship”. And this relationship that we have, (where we not only impose rules and objectives, but we also get to unconditionally love them and be loved by the20151027_104847
) is what has the power to restore belief. To know that someone loves me unconditionally regardless of how I perform, this is what encourages me to keep going.

For a long time, I had felt that I was unworthy of love and that I was needed to try harder, but since working at InJOY I have developed friendships that have started to tear down those walls of distrust that I have started to peel away some of the deeper layers that I had been wrapped up in. I have also been challenged to go and extend myself as well into the community and into others’ lives. I am far from perfect, but my belief is starting to be restored. Know that LOVE SPREADS! And I am learning to believe that I can build hope in others “BRICK BY BRICK”

Another one of the great lessons I have learned since working at InJOY is from a journal quote that says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” The reason this had such an impact on me is because it made me recognize the duality of thought within myself. Here, my view being that I try my hardest, but my work not reflecting that spoken effort.

You see perceiving is all about the ability “to recognize, discern, envision, or understand.” And our perception affects how we see the world and others, therefore effecting our decisions and our choices. So if I live with the perception that “my decisions only affect me”, I will then live accordingly. But often, we live with a false perception about ourselves and others and this is called deception. Deception by nature is a trap, and it is a trap that keeps us from living out our full potential. As is in my case.

Growing up, I was always a kid who didn’t really have any friends. I always did things to try to impress people, but in the end I was usually alone. As I reached my high school years, I battled depression because I wanted friends, but I never had any. My perception was that, even though I was good (likable) person, I was not deserving to have a friend. I felt that despite my efforts to connect, my destiny is that I was to be alone for my whole life. In fact, I had run away from people who would pursue me as well.

Now was perception reality? No, but it sure felt that way, and feeling are very hard to break, especially when they are associated with pain. But why do I say all of this? Because my perception has been shifted, and therefore so have my actions.

Through working at InJOY, I have come to “recognize” this population that we work with. I have come to see that regardless of how they appear or how they may feel, it is not indicative of “who” they actually are. In a broader sense, my perception has grown to realize that “People are People”.

Through affirmation, my perception of myself has changed, in that, I do have purpose and that I have done things that do matter and change lives.

But perception is a choice, and I have let my perception grow // Perception effects the way you distribute value to yourself and others.

And I used be scared to dream and would shut out my dreams, and have no confidence that they would ever come true. I was living a life with no real “cheerleaders” and with no one in the stands to ever tell me that I was doing a good job!photo3

Through working at InJOY, I have begun to find the beginning of what we often refer to as support.

I think the hardest question I had ever been asked at InJOY was by Mary Grace. She had asked me, “What are your dreams?” And to be honest, I had no clue.

But I don’t think that it is because I have necessarily never had any dreams before, but I think that I had always been embarrassed to share, or that I thought they were too farfetched, or (most common) I had bits and pieces of things that I like (and would like) to do, but I felt like I had no vision of how these things were to come together.

Now, I am learning the importance of having a coach who sits in your corner and who roots for you and guides you through the uncertainties of your dreams, but people like these are so rare to come by, but I am finding them here, and I have found myself wanting to be that for others in my own life.

The big thing I am working on right now is concerning my mom.

As some of you may know, my mom has MS, is physically disabled, and has been wheelchair bound for over 8 years. She has lost tons of hope and had been struggling with depression as she had lost a sense of purpose.

Through working at InJOY, a big part of what we (should) do is making people’s dreams come to life. And I have found that a lot of the tools that we use at InJOY are very transferable and that I am able to use them to help create a better life for my mom (even though I live 3,000 miles away).

Through this process, I have been challenged to not only dream, but to make dreamers of others. I have discovered this burning desire to see people walk in freedom and discover more of who they are really meant to be. Since working here, I have been able to see that these desires I have are also on God’s heart, and that he wants all to “Have life, and have it to the full!” 

So since working at InJOY, I have come to believe that I am “good enough”; I’ve come to perceive am not alone; and I have learned to dream and help other’s dreams come true by building confidence and providing support. This has become my view since InJOY.

InJOY Life Resources strives for the personal fulfillment of adults with developmental disabilities through innovatively pursuing avenues to enrich their life skills and foster positive relationships. Our organization believes in unlocking the potential of all people through engaging them in a supportive community. We inspires people of all abilities.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *