How do you accept it’s not real?

Whether you’re an immersive daydreamer or a maladaptive daydreamer, it’s likely you enjoy your daydreaming. And you’ve probably wished you could magically transport yourself into your daydream world. Then, you come back to reality and you have to accept that all the exciting things you just imagined are not real. That’s not always easy to do.

For the most part, I don’t think what you daydream about affects your relationship with your daydreaming. But when it comes to accepting that your daydreams aren’t real, the best approach can depend, in part, on what you daydream about.

If your daydreams are realistic

If you daydream about something that could happen in the future, particularly if it’s something that’s potentially under your control, then instead of trying to accept that it isn’t real now, try telling yourself it isn’t real yet. And then reflect on what actions you could take in real life to move you towards your daydream future.

For example, if you’re a student and you daydream about graduating top of your class, you can take all of the confidence and motivation you feel in your daydreams and turn it towards studying as hard as you can and making sure you get the best possible grade. Whether you’ll be top of your class depends on who else is in the class. But if you achieve the best grade you could, you’ll still be proud of yourself, and your daydreaming will have served its purpose.

If your daydreams are unrealistic

On the other hand, if you’re like me and your daydream world couldn’t possibly exist in this universe, then accepting it’s not real looks a little different. In this case, what you need is a mindset shift. Your daydream world was never meant to be real. That’s what makes it so beautiful. Your mind has created something that goes beyond the constraints of the world you’re living in. Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve never resented the fact that my sci-fi paracosm is not real, because real-life me isn’t missing out on anything. No-one else is living my dream. No-one else will ever experience in reality the things that I’ve experienced in my imagination. And most people wouldn’t even be able to imagine my daydream world in the depth and detail that I can. Rather than being sad it’s not real, I’m just profoundly grateful that my mind could create it at all.

If your daydream is theoretically possible but extremely unlikely

I think the in-between space is often where it’s hardest to accept that your daydreams aren’t real. For example, if your daydreams involve dating your celebrity crush, and that person is, in reality, happily married and doesn’t know you exist, it can be much harder to accept that your daydreams aren’t real. Because someone else is living your dream. And it’s difficult to accept that it’s not you.

In this case, it can help to acknowledge that there is more than one way to be happy. Sure, dating your celebrity crush might be incredible, but so are a lot of other things, and some of them are going to be way more accessible to you. You can build a happy and fulfilling reality, and you can also build a beautiful and exciting daydream world – and the two can be completely different. The gift of being a daydreamer is that you don’t have to settle for just one life.

It’s OK that it isn’t real

In each case, the way to make peace with the fact your daydreams aren’t real is to accept that’s not what they’re for. Your daydreams are not supposed to be your only source of happiness. Your daydreams exist to motivate and inspire you. At their most realistic, they give you a vision of what you can achieve if you’re willing to put in the effort. At their most fantastical, they give you the emotions your real life may be too mundane to provide.

Your daydreams can help you unravel what you really want out of life. They can show you the way to your authentic self. They allow you to explore infinite possibilities. Your daydreams can be a lot of very valuable things. Don’t lose sight of that because you’re wishing they were real.

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