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By Rebecca Johnston

Fantasies: not a challenge too high, not a love too great, not an expense too large. How lovely. But as comforting as fantasies are, there is a point where it is wise to let them go. We reject this idea because we assume it means that we will be letting go of our dreams. Yet, the things we hope and strive for and the things we fantasize about are entirely different, and making the distinction is crucial.

We fantasize to escape reality, we dream to improve on it. Whereas dreams are rooted in your current situation, fantasies are often impossible to obtain, addictive to your ego and especially your impulses.

To use a personal example to distinguish between the two, a fantasy of mine is to be a director of a non-profit, which may seem feasible, but what makes it a fantasy is that I am not involved in any charity organization. My comparative dream is that by the end of this year I would have found and started volunteering with a non-profit, organized a specific project for them and developed contacts with management. See the difference? It is largely due to present circumstances.

We fantasize to escape reality, we dream to improve on it. Whereas dreams are rooted in your current situation, fantasies are often impossible to obtain, addictive to your ego and especially your impulses.

 

The remedy is to actually start pursuing your dreams. Once you do so, the perpetual discouragement and self-illusions of your fantasies will have no choice but to disappear, and you can start building the life that you want.

Of course this must go together with reflection that your dreams are actually what you want and not being pushed onto you by others. If this still leaves you unconvinced, here are 4 ways to know it is time to let go of your fantasies.

1. It’s affecting your relationships or your ability to open up to love.

Often fantasies lead to inaction as they are so far and long term that we cannot see a starting point. This can lead to tension in close relationships with family who may see you as a ‘lost soul’ and who also want the security to know where and when we will earn a living in your adult life. In other cases, fantasies within relationships are just as damaging, for example that someone is deserving of your trust when they aren’t, and that someone is willing to change when you know that is unlikely.

2. You are in mental anguish.

Fantasies unfulfilled are particularly perplexing and upsetting. I am no psychologist, but I believe this is due to us tying fantasies to our self image, which then seeps into out subconscious thoughts. As we continuously play the illusions in our mind, we then see our perceived but not real inadequacies in stark lighting which causes you to be upset.

3. You’re not progressing toward anything; you’re using fantasizes to stay content but paralyzed.

It is easy to deceive oneself into the impression of improvement, especially in a world where you can create the impression of a fantastic life with little more than social media posts. But just like gold and pyrite, real self improvement cannot be mimicked by the fake.

4. It’s damaging your wallet, or preventing you from living a whole, healthy life.

Despite money not being everything, it is a medium of exchange that is necessary to obtain a decent standard of living. If you have decided that pursuing your dreams is more important than money, which is completely valid, please check that those dreams you so fervently wish for are not fantasies. Because it will hurt you financially over the long run in failed startups, franchises, employment and the like.

The overarching message I have for you is to be aware and honest of where you are in life, what you are feeling and where you are heading. With this awareness, clarity and the bravery to take those first steps you can do anything and everything with your life. Ignore those that tell you otherwise.

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