The older you grow, the more quiet you become. Life humbles you gradually as you age. You realize how much nonsense you’ve wasted time on.
The biggest nonsense creator of them all?
Your mind… and the fantasies it likes to project into every facet of your life. You’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches hundreds of times in the past! And you aren’t alone either.
We all stress ourselves out… because of fantasies.
We all procrastinate to the point of failure… because of fantasies.
We all get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large… because of fantasies.
We all miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments… because of fantasies.
This might seem hard to believe at first, so let’s look at some super common examples…
When we wake up and immediately start fantasizing and worrying about all the things we have to do, we aren’t really doing anything but adding stress to an otherwise pleasant morning.When we fear the potential of failure, and we procrastinate in response to our fear, our fearful fantasies force us to miss great opportunities for success.When someone upsets us, this is often because they aren’t behaving according to our fantasy of how they “should” behave. The frustration, then, stems not from their behavior but from how their behavior differs from our fantasy.When we think about making a healthy change in our lives (like getting in shape), we are initially inspired by the fantasy of how easy it will be, but… that’s not reality. So when the reality of working hard to exercise and eat right surfaces, and it doesn’t match up with our inspiring fantasy, we give up.When we’re having a conversation with someone, we’re distracted with fantasies of how this person views us, or we’re distracted by our propensity to fantasize about how to respond before they even finish talking, and thus we miss the opportunity to connect more deeply with them.When we move through our days, our minds are stuck fantasizing about other times and places, and so we miss the pleasant surprises and simple pleasures surrounding us.
Of course, sometimes we get out of our own heads long enough to focus on the present and make the best of it, but it’s NOT often enough. So remind yourself, as often as necessary, to see the moment for what it really is, not what you think it should be. Accept it, so you can make the best of it...
Do what you have to do without worrying and fearing the worst, lamenting about what might happen, or obsessing over how difficult your work is. Just begin, take it one step at a time, and do the best you can.
See others for who they are, and accept them, without needless judgments. Choose not to allow their behavior to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Just be present and accepting. Then decide if you want to spend extra time with them. If not, part ways peacefully.
Carry your presence with you wherever you go. Appreciate the little moments. Remind yourself that there are few joys in life that equal a good laugh, a good conversation, a good morning walk, a good afternoon hug, or a good deep breath at the end of the day.
In the end, we can fantasize all we want, but it doesn’t improve our reality.
Just think about your life and what happens when you let your fantasies get the best of you.
It certainly doesn’t lead to happiness and success.
When you constantly tell yourself little self-deprecating lies — fantasies — you start believing them and your behavior naturally backs the lies up. You start procrastinating. You put your biggest goals on the back burner. You always feel guilty and regretful for not taking action. You give up when the first obstacle comes your way. You blame others. Your important relationships take a major hit. And the list goes on and on.
And you know what the really scary part is? Most people don't know they are digging themselves a hole by repetitively listening to their fantasies and the negative self-talk they produce.
To get yourself out of this mess, you need to literally rewire your brain and replace the negative, distracted mindsets with positive, productive ones. For example, instead of saying, "I don't think I have what it takes," you must start saying, "I can figure this out!" And by doing so, you'll stop saying, "I’m not ready yet," and you'll start taking action because the new mindset is something along the lines of "I am ready to learn and grow!”
As I've said, there are dozens of different variations of fantasies that can hurt your self-image and — as a result — your immediate happiness and success. But it's also important to remember that they will affect many other areas of your life in the long run too, like:
Lack of confidence at workHeartbreaking stress in your relationshipsLittle motivation to do anything new at alletc.
If you have caught yourself stuck with similar fantasies and negative thought patterns, you need to take action ASAP. The longer you let these little demons linger around, the harder it is to get rid of them.
And of course, if you're struggling with any of this, know that you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and get our lives back on track.