Fantasy thinking creates pain and suffering in the present. This lesson has taken me a long time and a lot of pain and suffering to learn. I hope that you can see how fantasy thinking creates pain and suffering.
What is fantasy thinking or daydreaming? Fantasy thinking often happens when you’re bored and thinking about some other time. In the past, you might recall something that happened that you thought was great.
The main way I use fantasy thinking starting as a teenager and through most of my adult life. I would be in school thinking about how awesome something would be. Imagining if I had a million dollars and what if I didn’t have to go to school anymore. One of my most frequent fantasies was what if I could go out with a certain girl.
I would just fantasize about every different girl around. I would think about going out with her and getting in bed with her and having a life with her. No one told me I should stop doing that at any point because no one knew I was doing that. I didn’t talk about that. I didn’t ask for any help.The fantasy thinking creates hell in the moment.
It’s a clever way of hurting yourself. You’re saying what you have right now is not enough. You imagine what you will have so it will be enough. It’s a long drawn out future. No wonder why I hated being a teenager. When I was a teenager I would say how bad my life was and fantasize about what I would do to make it good.
I would be in bed as a teenager imagining all the girls that I would like to have in bed with me. It turned into quite a circus. There were like 10 – 15 different girls I would like to have in my room with me. Yet, it was torture to do that because that was not happening. I wasn’t in a room with 15 naked girls and I thought that would make my life perfect.
I was laying in bed by myself. That fantasy creates pain because it creates a difference. It creates a separation between what is real and an ideal or imaginary future. It makes suffering because it’s not real in the moment. No matter how you look deep down you know that’s not what’s happening right now.
I’m grateful now I know if I’m doing that, I notice I am doing it and I can stop doing it. I don’t want to hurt myself because I can feel how wonderful it would be at some future moment. I realize it hurts to do that.
I can feel when I start thinking how wonderful it would be at some future moment. I realize it hurts to do that. When I’m sensitive enough to detect the hurt, I can see when I fantasize about the future. The more lucrative the fantasy seems, the more it hurts. It might not hurt too much to think into tomorrow and think it might be nice to go to the movies with my wife. That doesn’t hurt because that’s pretty close to what the reality would be. I used to fantasize about my business all the time. I used to fantasize about making a certain amount of money. When I worked with people, I talked about those fantasies instead of what was going on.
When I talk with people about my business now I talk about what is actually happening. What are we doing right now? Is there anything we should start doing right now that we’re not doing? None of this fantasy stuff. We don’t need to talk about what we’re doing in the future. What are we doing right now? Is there anything we should add or subtract from what we’re doing right now?
The fantasy thinking almost pervades all areas of life. That’s why I loved video games so much, too. It was making a fantasy real. When I played videos games, I could shoot people or I could slaughter zombies. I could act out some violent fantasies. The most miserable I got was when the game didn’t match my idea of the fantasy. As long as you can see that fantasizing causes you pain in the moment, you might not have to endure it.
It might not seem like horrible torture where you’re getting your arms stretched out. It usually requires you to be more sensitive to see how much fantasy hurts. If you’re used to a life of pain and suffering, fantasy might seem like a bit of a relief. It’s just like any other temporary relief. Like anything where you’re altering your state of consciousness, it might provide an escape. At some point you have to come back to now.
While you’re drinking, you’re trying to escape from the now into fantasy land. Usually now tends to get worse while you’re not present. While you’re off in your fantasies, you’ll be ignoring things that are around.
You know what happened to me? While I fantasized about these girls, I would miss the girls that were trying to get with me. I would miss all their subtle signs. You had to knock me over the head to get me to figure out you wanted to go out with me. I was so busy fantasizing, I even ignored the girls I was fantasizing about. I was ignoring how they were treating me most of the time because I was not present. I was in my mind. I wasn’t paying attention to the subtle signs. I missed going out with a lot of girls for real because I was getting to know them in fantasy land . If you pay attention, you’ll usually find it’s better than fantasy because it’s real.
The thing is, fantasizing starts with you saying you don’t like how things are. I’m bored, I’m depressed. I’m irritated. I’m angry. Then you go off into fantasy land or you escape with alcohol, drugs, or some other way. Whatever you’re using as an escape will be worse because you’ve neglected other things. You’ve neglected reality.
As an adult, no one tells you should stop fantasizing. Most of our entire society is built on fantasy. Most of the car commercials, and video games and entertainment are build on fantasy. Almost all our existence in the USA is built on fantasy because of the underlying discomfort with how things are.
Everything is just perfect. The fantasy is the way of life no one tells you that you should stop. It might seem reasonable when you’re thirteen to fantasize about what it would be like to go on a date. When you’re married, fantasizing about being with the neighbors wife hurts. It hurts bad because it’s disrespecting all the things you do have. The better my life got, the worse fantasizing has hurt. It hurts a lot fantasizing now and that’s why I stopped doing it.
One of the easiest tricks I use to stop fantasizing is to pray. I pray and I ask to appreciate all the beautiful things I have today. I pray to pay attention to what I have now and stop fantasizing. I’m thankful for my wife and my wonderful life. I’m thankful for that. That pops a bubble of fantasy. Usually, that, combined with thinking whatever fantasy I have out. If I’m having some stupid fantasy, I think it out all the way. Fantasy is usually a focused approached. You’re not usually thinking about the entire thing.
When I was fantasizing about girls in high school, I only thought about doing physical stuff with them. I wasn’t thinking about all the things you actually do when you’re with someone. I wasn’t thinking about going to the store with them. I wasn’t picturing having an argument or fight with them. I wasn’t picturing a whole life together, I was just picturing one little thing. I wasn’t picturing a whole life with them either.
I was picturing some fantasy version of them. Sometimes I got to go out with the girls I was fantasizing about and was disappointed. In my fantasy, they did one thing. In reality, she was on the phone the whole date and not paying any attention to me. That was disappointing.
In high school, I went out with the first good looking girl that paid attention to me. Then the fantasy of going out with her was so much better than actually going out with her. I told her about 7pm to drop me back off at my parent’s house. She didn’t understand why I wanted to do that because she was having a lot of fun. It was miserable because all the times I fantasized about going out with her or a girl like her and she was being a regular teenager. She was being an ordinary, regular girl. She was distracted, she was talking on her phone. She was all excited about hanging out with her friends. She was just a normal person. When you fantasize about things you ruin being a normal person. You ruin when you actually get to experience the fantasy because its not what you thought. It’s not as good as the fantasy. The fantasy is imaginary and the fantasy often doesn’t consider the whole picture. In the fantasy dates, I rarely spent time in the car in the fantasy. In the fantasy, I never thought what it would be like to get in the car and ride to go to the movies with a girl. In a fantasy, you usually skip straight to the movie or whatever else after that.
Fantasizing is one of those clever ways that you can hurt yourself. It’s one of the things when you think it though you can stop doing it. It’s easy enough to think a fantasy through if you think of lots of situations. If it’s a work fantasy, you will think of all these sums of money. If you think it through far enough you’ll defeat it. I fantasize about having a certain amount of money. What happens when you think about going there? What happens when you make more?
If you think that fantasy out that you’re having, you’ll say I’m happy with what I have now. I don’t need to start making a million dollars a day. I’m pretty happy making whatever I’m making today with the life I do have. This is a big breakthrough for me. Whenever life gets, it’s easy for me to break down fantasy.
It’s hard to think through a fantasy and see how it wouldn’t smash the fantasy by just thinking it through. Drinking is a fantasy-based lifestyle. If you think things all the way through it usually sounds miserable. In your mind you think you can’t wait to go out and have a few drinks, maybe you’ll meet someone. If you think it through, you may have a hangover the next day or who you meet may not be as attractive in the morning. Maybe I’m going to have spent a lot of money, I may end up in jail. I may have wrecked a car, someone may have gotten hurt. At that point, the fantasy stops. It stops being so fun and it starts looking like hell.
Do I want to have a hangover? Do I want to go through all those bad things, too? Wouldn’t it be worth it to skip the fun to avoid all that misery? I don’t want to do that.
If you think about ten years from then. I’m married to this person I met when I was drunk and we have a kid. I don’t even like them and now I’m getting a divorce. Now, I have to drink every night and I feel bad. That doesn’t look so good, does it? When you think through them, then the fantasy bubble pops. You think about staying home and reading instead. Maybe I don’t want to go out and drink. That’s what works for me.
Praying and thinking things through smashes the bubble of fantasy. When you’re not in fantasy land you’re present. Then your present will get a lot better. It will be fun and it will be filled with things that are way better than fantasy.
I pray today that anytime I am escaping this moment with fantasy, I will ask for help returning back to it. I’ll think the fantasy through to pop the bubble of fantasy. I’m thankful I already did that. I’m thankful I already got this morning so I could share this with you. I pray that if you need help with this you got something out of learning what works for me. Thank you for watching or listening to this whether it’s on Facebook, Udemy, my blog or podcast. I love your feedback, I trust you to give me the best help you can to make sure these are as good as possible. I hope you have a great day.