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Fantasy and Reality

Self-Therapy For People Who ENJOY Learning About Themselves

Fantasy and Reality - Part 1

Part One is a bit theoretical. Part Two will be more practical.

NEVER THE TWAIN....

Popular culture says we are "crazy" if we can't tell fantasy from reality. If that's the definition, then we are all crazy. (No news there!)

The key to avoiding fantasy and reality problems is to always know which of the two you are dealing with!

DEFINITION OF FANTASY

Fantasy is ALL mental activity.

Most people know that dreams and daydreams are fantasies, but few realize that every single thought is a fantasy.

Example:
We can all agree that "2+2=4" is a true statement. But this true statement doesn't become real until we actually see two pairs of objects right in front of us.

Even if we'd all agree that some fantasy is TRUE, that does not mean that it is REAL.
It's a fantasy until it becomes real.

DEFINITION OF REALITY

Reality is what comes to us through our senses. If we can see, hear, smell, taste or feel something it is real (except for a few rather insignificant things like optical illusions.)

A BLESSED CURSE?

We humans used to believe we were the only creatures able to fantasize. Then dolphins and other animals were studied and we found that we are not alone.


 


The ability to fantasize opens up many avenues for fun and problem-solving, but it also opens up avenues for neurosis, psychosis and all types of "mental pain."

Poor dolphins..... Do you suppose they have therapists?

WHEN TO USE FANTASY

Use fantasy ONLY for entertainment and BRIEF problem solving.

USING FANTASY FOR ENTERTAINMENT

Imagine yourself in any situation at all that is enjoyable to you. [Sometimes it can even be enjoyable to imagine violence! If you are that angry, you might need such fantasies just to relieve all the pressure.]

DON'T USE FANTASY TO CREATE FEELINGS THAT HURT YOU!

Creating bad feelings is never healthy entertainment! Don't imagine yourself in situations which frighten, sadden, or anger you unless you are trying to solve some problem (see below).

DON'T COMPARE ENTERTAINMENT FANTASIES WITH REALITY

Since fantasy can be perfect and reality can't, comparing our entertaining fantasies with reality will always lead to bad feelings!

USING FANTASIES FOR BRIEF PROBLEM-SOLVING

It is wise and necessary to use fantasy to solve problems.

If you are choosing between two apartments, for instance, you can imagine yourself living in each of them and compare the two feelings.

But this should only take a minute or two!

IT'S NOT PROBLEM-SOLVING WHEN IT TAKES TOO LONG.

Our brains work incredibly quickly, as fast as the fastest computers. After a few minutes of thinking, we already know intuitively whether a problem is unsolvable.

After that all we are doing is frustrating ourselves about how unsolvable the problem is!

When a problem can't be solved in a few minutes of thinking, we need to face that it's unsolvable
unless we get new information.

If the unsolvable problem causes you pain, call a friend, discuss it with your partner, look it up on the web, or contact an expert in the field. Do anything which might bring in new data.

If the unsolvable problem doesn't cause you much pain, let it go! (Just put it on that large "unsolved pile" that we all share!)

If the unsolvable problem causes emotional pain and you feel you just can't let it go, that's what therapists are for.


Enjoy Your Changes!

Everything here is designed to help you do just that!

Fantasy and Reality - Part 2

Part One was mostly theoretical. Part Two is more practical.

SUMMARY OF PART ONE

  1. Fantasy is all mental activity.
  2. Reality is what we know through our senses.
  3. Fantasy should only be used for entertainment and for brief problem solving.
HOW IT HELPS TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE

Remember the great relief you felt when you realized that some nightmare was only a dream?
Remember that feeling of great joy when it seemed that some dream had come true?

As we improve at differentiating between fantasy and reality we get these wonderful feelings more and more!

FEAR

One of the greatest problems we face is unnecessary and unnatural fear. It is destructive to believe our fears!

Fears are only fantasies about horrors. Spending time on them is painful, and a waste of energy.

HOPE

Hope, like fear, is just a fantasy. But hope feels good!

So, never stop enjoying your hope!


 


OUR "WORLD VIEW"

Each of us has a unique, completely different idea about how the world works. Some of us think "love makes the world go 'round," others think "everything is about power," or money, or trust, or being well-liked.... The list is endless.

But the truth is that nobody really knows how the world works.

It can be comforting to know we are all wrong, and yet somehow we all survive (and most of us do it quite well, thank you!).

WHAT TO DO AND HOW IT WORKS

Immerse yourself in your fantasies and in your reality separately.

Then, when you get good at never confusing the two, add a little of the fantasy to your reality just for the fun of it!

Improve your sex life by enjoying your fantasies completely, enjoying real sex intensely, and occasionally enhancing sexual reality with sexual fantasy.

Improve your career by enjoying your dreams of success completely, enjoying your daily work as much as you can, and enhancing daily work with your dreams occasionally.

Improve relationships with children by enjoying your hopes about them, enjoying their real growth, and "sprinkling" your hopes into your daily enjoyment of them.

SEE HOW IT WORKS?

Any aspect of your life can be improved by first immersing yourself in reality, then in fantasy
- keeping them separate most of the time, and occasionally "sprinkling" reality with fantasy just for the sheer fun of it.

ABOUT MAKING MAJOR DECISIONS

When we need to make major decisions (relationships, career changes, etc.), fantasy can get in the way.

When faced with important life decisions, do your best to measure the REALITY of your situation against what you WANT.

Example #1:
When deciding about a career move, measure the guarantees offered to you against the kind of employment situation you want. While your hope may involve future promotions and other "possibilities," you are usually better off making your decision based on what you know for sure about the new situation.

Example #2:
When deciding about a partner, measure the reality of how they treat you against how you want to be treated. While your hope may be that they will change for the better, and you may fear that they will change for the worst, you are better off making your decision based on what you have actually observed about them.

Enjoy Your Changes!

Everything here is designed to help you do just that!

next: Feeling Safe

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2009, January 2). Fantasy and Reality, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/inter-dependence/fantasy-and-reality

Last Updated: March 30, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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