Today, we’re going to talk about the fantasy self.
What’s a fantasy self, Nahlah?
I’m glad you asked! A fantasy self as I’ve come to understand it (aka can’t be bothered to Google it) is a version of ourselves that we create based off of who we think or who others think we should be. This can look like you wanting to be a doctor because your parents want you to. It can also look like you trying to get into painting because you like the idea of yourself as an artist. It could also be that you force yourself to be the life of the party because that’s what your friends expect of you.
What is the reality behind all of this? You don’t really want to be a doctor, you want to go into cosmetology. You get so bored with painting and would rather spend that time playing ball. You’re not the life of the party at all, but a homebody who’s idea of a real good time is spoken word poetry night. These are just a few examples, but this idea of the fantasy self can apply to literally everything down to the clothes in your closet. You know you aren’t going to wear that jumper because it’s not you, but someone complimented it once and you see yourself being the type to wear it.
The problem with the fantasy self is that we waste time stressing out and trying to be someone that we’re not. Instead, we can own up to who we really are, what we really like, what we really want to do and be so much more fulfilled; not to mention successful.
So, how do you even distinguish between your fantasy self and the authentic you?
There is no magic process. I did it by sitting myself down with a notebook and writing out basic questions to answer. I won’t say to put the first answer that comes to mind because a lot of times, we’ve conditioned ourselves to give the replies our fantasy selves would give instead of what we really want to say. I like to start with simple questions. It’s kind of cringey, but I will ask myself what my favourite colour is, what kind of movies I like, what my favourite food is, etc. It’s like playing 20 questions with yourself, you’ll feel like you’re on a first date. Starting out with the basics helps you get into the habit of being honest with yourself because there’s not much to lose. It’s a lot easier to admit that your favourite colour has been yellow all along and not blue, as opposed to you realizing that you want to style hair 5 years into attending medical school. This sounds silly but trust me, it gets you where you need to go.
You have to come to a place where 1) you own up to who you are and 2) you’re in tune with your feelings. I used to have this thing where I wanted to be a really artistic intellectual person through the types of movies I watched and the books I read. So I would force myself to watch independent films and I would buy all these classic books to read. The reality was that I was so bored trying to get into independent films and I never picked up those classic books. At my core, I was fighting against that version of myself and it was obvious if I paid attention to the feeling in the pit of my stomach (best described as bored nausea).
Where did this side of myself come from? It came from growing up as a creative child. I was always making stuff and writing things and painting. My parents ran with it and I was always described as artistic and was close friends with many artists in school. Am I still an artist? Yes, but in a different way. And you don’t have to be into obscure films or literature to be an artist. I like cartoons, okay? Let me live.
It’s time to confront this fantasy version of ourselves. If we can fully realize who we really are, we will be a lot happier Insha’Allah. We won’t be wasting any more time and energy trying to run in the wrong direction. This is also a topic that has become a pretty popular discussion within the YouTube community, so if you want to know more you can find plenty of videos on the topic over there!
I wish you the best!