At 63, I am a PhD in Human Development from Virginia Tech (VT). Bryanna, my 31 year-old daughter, is a Lawyer for the State Department. She graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) and works for the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. My son Elijah is a Business Analyze for UBS. He lives and works in Shanghai, China. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) with his MBA. And Day, the youngest of the family, is a successful tattoo artist with a studio in New York’s East Village.
Those who know me will recognize this as fiction, FANTASY. I prefer to think of it as day-dreaming. It is a series of pleasant thoughts that distract one’s attention from the present.
Whether it’s worrying or fantasizing, all of us daydream
In reality’ I am a 52 year-old LMFT in private practice. My 21 year-old daughter is a missionary working in anti-human trafficking who promised her father that she would return to the states to finish her degree. Elijah, 17, just graduated high school and has big business aspirations. The fourteen-year-old is her mother, unbound by convention. I can only imagine (in a good way) what the future holds.
What do you have if you have no fantasy?
If fantasy is a pleasant distraction from the present, than without it, at best you have no distraction. At worse, you have an unpleasant distraction. Care to guess what we call an unpleasant distraction?
Worry is the torment one inflicts upon themselves from disturbing thoughts. That’s torment, as in, torture. Did I say it’s self inflicted?
Just so we’re clear, without fantasy you have WORRY. It is the self-inflicted harm from intrusive thoughts.Fantasy and worry both live in the realm of the unknown.The realm of the unknown is located in the future. For instance; worrying about my children’s future is as logical as fantasizing about their future. However, fantasizing about their future success is more rational (makes more sense) than worrying about it.
Right about now I hear the pessimist, excuse me, the “realist” reminding me of the cost of higher education and the scarcity of jobs. These are the thing worriers, excuse me, “realist” glum onto. These are logical facts. Despite these facts, a clear majority of college graduates enter the middle class from college.
I’m not here to argue the validity of worrying or fantasizing, only to point out that you do have a choice. Both deal with the unknown. One is pleasant and the other is unpleasant. To me, the rational choice is clear.
A few fun facts about daydreaming:
You daydream less as you get older
Your brain, not your mind, controls your daydreams
Daydreaming turns off other parts of the brain
Daydreaming makes you more creative
With over twenty years of professional experience helping people deal with the “human experience,” I discovered something: Fantasy produces far more creative solutions and improved communication than does worry.
Therefore, fantasy is far more rational. But, like with anything, no action means … no action. Do nothing and nothing will happen so whether you WORRY or FANTASIZE, if you do not DO anything, you are pretty much stuck right where you’re at. Guess who is responsible?
→ SO NOW YOU HAVE A CHOICE ←
Next time you or someone you know worries: Try fantasizing by changing the narrative. Let me tell you a story.
A patient comes to my office and tearfully relays how the other half walked out on their 11 year marriage. After days of begging for a reason, the only reply they got was, “It’s not you … it’s me.” 😥 So after even more days of self inflicted torment of blame, the patient had convinced themselves that they were the reason. So, what am I to do?
There is only one thing I can do when someone is in self inflicted worry-torment mode. When a patient comes to me in pain. I must relieve the pain. How do I do that? I told them a story. A fantasy rich with details of the facts but with a GAY twist. The patient knew that there was a 99.999999999% probability of the person they knew for over 11 years was NOT homosexual. But, while I was telling the story something happened, they stopped crying and interrupting me with the “If only.” They actually smiled and left my office better than when they came in. This is the point, if you are tormenting yourself over and over with an unknown, you can and should change the narrative in your head …
➡ It Is The First Step Of Change
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