I think it’s safe to say that we all have dreams. I don’t just mean the kind where unicorns made of sherbet leap over rainbows in our heads when we sleep. I mean that people aspire to be more than they are, to take in sights they’ve never seen, engage in delights galore, and so on. These dreams are beautiful things, powerful motivators, and more attainable than we think. Our problem is, we often get in our own way.

A problem with conscious thought is that it can work against us just as often as it does for us. We know, with even the most rudimentary grasp of statistics, that chances of making our dreams come true can be slim. We are our own worst critics when it comes to works we wish to create, or endeavors we undertake. And we look at ourselves in the mirror with unbiased eyes, in our most naked moments. Unless we’ve gotten really good at fooling ourselves, and have bought into our own hype, we know our flaws and we can only overlook them for so long.

While we shouldn’t overlook our flaws, we shouldn’t let them stop us, either.

Let’s face it, there’s only one ‘you’ in the universe. You can do things nobody else on the planet can do simply by virtue of the fact that you are an individual. Whatever your dream may be, you have the potential to realize it in a unique and beautiful way, and cultivate experiences that this world will never see before. Why give up on that? I know it can seem like whatever problem you’re facing is insurmountable, that your dream and desire is either just out of reach or a million miles away. And yes, there will be some obstacles impossible to overcome. In those cases, you find a way around them; in the cases where they’re not impossible (and trust me, most aren’t), you find a way through them.

If you think your failures will make you look bad in front of others, just keep this in mind: other people don’t always think the way you do. In fact, some may overlook your flaws altogether. Think about it. If you walk around outside today, or work in an office, or meander through a store, somebody more than likely is not going to see what you grimace about in the mirror. Someone’s head is going to turn to follow you, eyes are going to watch you, not because you’re flawed or broken, but because they like what they see. Someone’s going to think you’re hot. And they’re right.

If we accept the notion that our hotness is in the eye of the beholder, and that perceptions are not fixed points in the collective human psyche, we can surmise that our perceptions of our skills, flaws, goals, and difficulties are not always entirely accurate. The only way to know for sure the quality and degree of the obstacles before us is to test them. We must throw ourselves against the walls between us and our dreams. When we do, some will push us back, but others we will find to be made of paper. We won’t know until we try.

This is harder than it sounds. It’s pretty easy to just say “don’t give up”. It’s another thing entirely to remain positive in the face of everything life can dish out at us. Our bank accounts deplete, our skin breaks out, we encounter rejection, our plans are postponed, something pushes us to the ground, we’re told we’re not good enough, we experience bigotry and hatred and shame and loneliness.

And it sucks.

But here’s the truth under all of that bullshit.

If you’re reading this, you’re breathing. Your dreams are still there, waiting for you to break down the barriers in your path. Your potential remains a limitless quantity, something to be unleashed on a daily basis. You have more power than you realize and the courage to wield it. Even making the attempt to surmount the obstacles in your way is an act of bravery that should be sung about in epic poetry to the sound of cheers and applause. Nobody else is underestimating you the way you may be underestimating yourself, and you can end that any time you want. The only way to truly fail in whatever you’re attempting is to give up, to surrender, and as long as you’re breathing, you have the chance to say, if only to yourself, “No. Not today. I won’t surrender. I won’t give up.” Even if you take one step further towards your goals, it’s closer than you were yesterday, and tomorrow you’ll take another. So keep it up. Pick yourself up when you fall, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it, because believe it or not, there are people around you who want you to succeed just as much as you do.

And some of them probably think you’re hot, so there’s that, too.