woman daydreaming at her laptop thinking 'life is so much safer in her head

Fantasies are useful for exploring ideas – a bit like a mental dummy run. They can enable you to tap into your creativity, examine who you are or ideas about what you want from yourself and your life in the future, sexual desires, and even to work through issues. Some of these may be things that you don’t want to make into a reality – for example, you may have a fantasy of having a three-way but the idea of it may turn you on more than actually taking the actions to do so. Other fantasies, by helping you identify what may be unacknowledged desires and aspirations, can also help you to refocus your efforts, make small, medium or even big changes, and recognise areas of your life that are not satisfying you.

I fantasised about being self-employed, writing all the time, getting my ideas out there. I did the latter but, eventually, as I was being put in the position of making choices that turned me in a different direction from what I wanted, I had to put my proverbial money where my mouth was. I’ve now been self-employed, writing full-time and putting my ideas out there for nearly four years at the time of writing this. I’d fantasised for most of my life about feeling accepted, loved, empowered and being in a loving relationship – in real life, I had a string of relationships with unavailable men, one of whom even had a girlfriend. Again, I’ve had to walk the walk because it turned out that these ideas and desires were not things I wanted to leave in my unconscious while my real life resembled a motorway pile up. That fantasy has also become a reality – I love and like myself and I’m in a loving relationship, which means I experience a great deal of happiness and satisfaction in my life, individually and within my relationship.

You’ll notice that your fantasies have crossed into unhealthy when there’s such a great disparity between your ideals and reality, that it leaves you hungry, frustrated, agitated, disappointed and even resentful. It’s difficult to see when you’re knee deep in it, but it’s hard for those who are affected. I’ve seen people so caught up in their vision of what their ideal job or career looks like, that they made life very difficult for their colleagues. My own mother made her dissatisfaction that her family wasn’t like the Brady Brunch clear. We hadn’t met her fantasy of what family looked like and she often compared us to others – we just felt like major let downs and eventually came to recognise that we couldn’t please her and that she was missing out.

I get it – real life sometimes isn’t all that thrilling. I also understand that particularly when you’ve had a difficult childhood and have had to cope with painful experiences, often needing to fantasise for self-preservation, it’s not uncommon to not only get used to this mode of being, but to have greater expectations and ideas about what can make you happy. That said, whether you’ve become this way as a child or an adult, these expectations about what your life ‘should’ and ‘would’ be, if only XYZ, can cause you to miss out on being an active part of your present, especially when you get trapped in inaction or feeling resentful of those around you. Life is sometimes a pain in the arse, miserable and bloody awful – it doesn’t stay that way forever though, especially if you don’t hold on to these feelings and stagnate in your life.

Having some fantasies can brighten up a day, remind you of your dreams and aspirations, and motivate you, but it’s dicey territory when they disrespect your reality to the extent that you’ve taken your hands off the wheel of your life.

All of this fantasising is like pressing your face against the shop window of your own mind and torturing yourself about things you think you can’t or won’t have, even though it turns out that these things are available for free, with some healthy work that doesn’t feel like ‘work work’.

Don’t get things twisted and think that daydreaming or having fantasies is a bad thing – it’s not. However, there’s daydreaming, then there’s living in a dreamlike state, making decisions based around it without much thought for what’s happening in reality. There’s a reason it’s called daydreaming – it’s using your active state to be inactive by dreaming about what is likely to be a fantasy about happy stuff when you’re awake, which distracts you from life. It’s like life-jacking yourself – you can’t make things happen and be in sniffing distance of a chance of it, if you’re not in reality making it happen.

Your thoughts?

You can find out more about fantasy relationships (no they’re not just about imaginary people!), why we get into them, the types and how to navigate out of them with my book, The Dreamer & the Fantasy Relationship.

Holiday Update

  • I’m knackered. I don’t know if it’s the whole back to school thing but I was asleep on the sofa just after 7pm last night. I woke up drooling, which might be because Em was cooking chicken… Today Nia fell asleep on me which forced me to have a lunchtime nap. It’s rare that she naps and with just under a week to go until she starts school, I savoured our quiet time together.
  • My friend has asked me to take part in a triathalon next year. I laughed my head off in response.
  • It’s girls night out tomorrow. I was almost tempted to cancel due to feeling so pooped but dirty laughing and silliness will probably give my mojo a boost.
  • I realised the other day that I could do with slowing down and doing the minor things that I put off. Like fixing my bra strap. Seriously – how damn busy can somebody be that their bra straps are annoying them for months on end yet they do nothing about it? It was getting on my tits (haha) having to keep pushing my straps back up. I realise I’m not alone as even my mother-in-law is a strap faffer.
  • I’m sure I’m not the only person who got overexcited by the Homeland and Downton Abbey trailers?
  • My bro is taking a much overdue holiday in Italy at the moment and he called me to show off his lovely hotel on Facetime and also to tip me off to this utterly ridiculous but belly laugh inducing video of ‘Minnie Mouse’ twerking at a kids birthday party. We were both doubled up laughing on the phone to each other!
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