How Your Fantasies Can Help You
What is the point of daydreaming and fantasizing? Just like how psychologists hypothesized that dreams are a way of processing and sorting the massive amounts of information we receive through our senses every day, I hypothesize that are waking fantasies reflect our needs that we may have trouble describing through words, or arriving at through internal logical speculation.
Let me illustrate by way of example. I was noticing that I was fantasizing about going back in time quite frequently (daily). The time I wanted to go back to was always the same, the late 90s when I was in high school. To be clear, I don’t miss ANYTHING about high school. Still, I wanted to know why I kept going back to this time.
Was it lack of responsibilities?
Was it because I wasn’t in debt?
Was it nothing more than a desire to be youthful again?
I concluded that it wasn’t any of those, as nice as they are.
After some thought and deliberation that extended over a several days, I concluded that I really wanted to be in a time period before I had access to high speed internet. Somewhere in my brain I have been learning that my addiction to the smartphone and speedy internet changed something in me that I blame for many of my problems of focus, concentration, and drive to be productive. Before the internet took hold of my life, I naturally poured myself into projects. There were other distractions, to be sure, such as television and single-player offline computer games, but none of those seemed to deplete my energy like the internet is capable of doing.
So, what I really wanted, and this is what my fantasy was trying to tell me, is I wanted a do-over of living as an adult but without the distractions from my smartphone. I blocked and deleted a few apps and sites from my phone, and after a short time, my fantasies of going back in time stopped. I cut out the disease from my mind and now I am cured. I am now experiencing life more like I would without the addiction to (let’s be specific here) social media, but without having to literally go back to a time period where social media didn’t exist.
- Try to monitor what you fantasize about.
- See if the fantasy is recurrent.
- Is there an unspoken need of yours that you are trying to address but failing at?
- Analyze and identify your need.
- Fix the need as best as you can (obviously, some things cannot be fixed, like returning to life a loved one who has passed away, that sort of thing).
- If the fantasies go away, you have solved the need.
This is my simple, but effective, formula for using your fantasies for good. They are not simply a waste of time getting lost in a dreamland, they could be trying to tell you something about yourself, like a truth bubbling up through your subconscious into your waking mind. Think of your fantasy as something in the category of thirst or hunger. Our minds are complex and so have different ways of communicating a need of the mind to us. Another quick example, there are times where I would frequently fantasize about sitting on the beach with a book, or under a tree in a field on a sunny day (also with a book), or some other secluded place by myself. The reason was because I needed time alone. I had spent too much time around people and didn’t have enough time to myself, and as an introvert, I barely even need to explain how and why we need time to ourselves to recharge.
Another fantasy and then I will be done; I knew I hated a job when I would get in my car in the morning to leave for work, and I would stare at the ground in the parking lot or driveway for a moment and wish I could sit in my car in the parking lot and do nothing all day. Since when does sitting in your car in the parking lot sound pleasurable? Well, when you don’t want to do what you feel forced to do. Anyway, observe your fantasies, the ones that really make you feel warm and fuzzy, to figure out what needs you aren’t getting that you should probably start paying attention to.