Fantasizing is the haven for the ungrateful.
For starters, it is important not to confuse fantasizing with needing or even wanting. Having desires is healthy, and even necessary. Needing is desiring necessities (I don’t think this requires more justification). Wanting, is desiring an addition to our life that is somewhat thought through, that will add to the quality of our life; add to our joy. Fantasizing is a much wider form of wanting which is NOT thought through at all.
Fantasizing is completely emotion based. It’s a desire to feel something, to yearn for a different life, and focusing only on the wonderful benefits of that life.
The truth is we ALL do this from time to time in small pieces. We are sitting in our car listening to love songs of the 80’s, longing for the kind of love that these artists so vividly illustrate for us. We sit in our home looking out the window at the snow keeping us inside, and fantasize about how much we’d rather live on a beach down south where we can feel the sun on our skin every day; feel the sand on our feet, and hear the wave’s crash.
The problem is that these fantasy thoughts and feelings are just visions of pleasurable moments. So we never follow the thought process through to their logical ends, if we had we actually pursued our fantasies.
Using the two examples above, I will lay out why fantasies are just illusions.
Love songs and romantic movies are fictions that only focus on the infatuation, the romance, and the subtle joys of the relationship. Realistically this in only half the story. Love is compromise, work, and dedication too.
The fantasy of changing our environment or location (climate, terrain, or whatever) doesn’t work either. This is because every location, every climate has it’s downside. We may not be fully aware of it because we don’t live in it, and we are too focused on the things we don’t have in our current environment. We are simply viewing a new life from a “vacation” mindset …….not in a “residential” mind set, and that’s not realistic.
Now ……. There are two reasons why fantasies are illusions and not helpful. The first I just illustrated in the two examples above. In a nutshell “Fantasies don’t paint the whole realistic picture”. We might have already known that intrinsically, and were just unwilling to acknowledge that. The second reason is not so obvious, and many of us won’t like it.
The second reason the fantasy is an illusion (and therefore unable to be applied as a reality) is because YOU are in it. No matter what your fantasy is, there you are, having all the fun. And because you fantasize so much in the first place, it’s only a matter of time until the “fantasy made reality” does not satisfy.
The thing is, in the end, we enjoy our fantasies just because they ARE fantasies. We humans have a tendency to get bored easily, and take that which we have for granted. No matter what our fantasy is, if we are to live out that fantasy, how long would that satisfy? One month? Maybe two years? How long until we yearn for something different or “better”? We could at that point learn to be grateful for what we have, but if we had done that at the start we would not have been driven to live this “fantasy life” in the first place, and I have no doubt that after some time in this “fantasy life” we start to long for the fruits we had in our original life.
Obsessive fantasizing of a different life occurs when we are ungrateful for our life as is.
This is just another example of something I have said many times before:
“Be grateful for what you have and you will want for less”
It is easy to spot the ungrateful, they all have one thing in common: No matter where they are, they’d rather be someplace else.
For those of us who fantasize a lot, here is a trick for turning that longing into gratitude:
Think about our fantasy (whatever it may be), but think of the ENTIRE picture. Not just the good stuff, but the bad ones too; the maintenance. The full reality. Then think of all the people that are living out our fantasy in real life. Then acknowledge that there are at least a few in that life, that fantasize about living a life JUST ……LIKE ……OURS.