Hump Day Crush: Floating, Like Vapor, On the Soft Summer Air

When you begin to talk about fantasy in the context of relationships, images of affectionate French maids, naughty librarians, buff pool boys and dashing bandits are immediately conjured.

As far as most people seem to be concerned, fantasy is all about sex and eroticism. That’s the diet we’re fed by media going back generations. That’s where it’s most obvious and most remembered.

Quite frankly, it’s also where it’s most fun.

But it is far from where it is most useful.

If we were to dedicate just a portion of the imagination we use in our sexual fantasies to other areas of our relationships awareness, we can discover so much more about others and ourselves.

Without a doubt, it is important to have a healthy fantasy life–especially when it comes to relationships. As long as we don’t get all caught up in all the “what isn’t” those fantasies are great fuel for “what is” and “what can be.” Our imaginary worlds, where anything goes, help us release the frustrations of every day life. They help us break the mundane bonds that tie us into roles we don’t always care for all that much.

Most fantasies occur when we just let our minds wander. Little snippets of our normal lives become interspersed with bits of movies and books we’ve read. People we’ve seen in passing (or, perhaps, those we wish to know better) creep in and play bigger roles. We accentuate all of our best traits, maybe indulge a little in things we would never actually do. Our internal fantasy worlds can be as vivid–or even more vivid–than our day-to-day lives.

If we take that same fantastic feeling and apply a little direction, though, we open up a new realm of possibility. If we don’t turn off the logical and introspective part of our minds when we enter a fantasy, we can glean much information about ourselves.

A directed fantasy life could be the second most important tool for self-discovery out there. (The most important, of course, being actually doing things.)

Instead of being merely a distraction, fantasies become learning experiences.

In the realm of sexual pleasure, pay attention to what goes on in those fantasies. If you have a willing partner, discuss the actions–no matter how silly or odd they may seem. Don’t demand or expect the fantasies to be acted out, but don’t shy away from suggesting them. It is truly amazing how many couples share similar (or complimentary) sexual fantasies but never realize it.

In the non-sexual vein, a directed fantasy life is the ingredient that turns any of the normal crushes into a Grown Up Crush. The fantasies become thought experiments, private laboratories where we can mix and match different ingredients and see what we get. The more vivid your imagination, the more sharp your observation, the more useful the technique is.

Take, for example, that random girl (or guy, as the case may be) at the bus stop. You see her every day and think she’s cute. Maybe you’ve heard her talk on her phone while waiting. Maybe you’ve noticed the jewelry she always wears. You see how she carried herself. You probably have a vague idea of the kind of person she is.

Plug that vague idea into your personal fantasy laboratory. Imagine taking the initiative and talking to her. How does that make the imaginary you feel? Is there nervousness even in your fantasy world? Good. That anchors it to reality. Use the fact that you can imagine over-coming it to learn what getting past being nervous may feel like.

Imagine her responding positively or negatively to your approach. Try it a bunch of different ways. Take the good with the bad. The more angles you work the mental simulation from, the more you will discover about what feels right for you. Because it’s all in your own head, the fantasy construct of that familiar stranger takes on more of your own traits than you’ll realize at first. By interacting with that composite version of “her” you will be able to dig down deeper into yourself.

And for every time you imagine something better than what could actually happen, you’ll also come up with a much worse outcome than you’re ever likely to see. Take heart in that fact when you get ready to move from the fantasy to the reality. You’ll already be prepared for the worst–and reality most likely won’t be all that bad.

The real proof of it all, of course, is making that leap from fantasy to reality. It’s not an easy leap, but it is necessary if you are to actually grow as a person. Staying coddled in your “best case scenario” fantasy world is no better than locking yourself in your room, refusing to leave and then being surprised when you starve to death.

What the Grown Up Crush really is, is a directed fantasy. The Grown Up Crush theory can be applied to old crushes and new ones–after all, you remember what those old ones were like and it all takes place in your head, anyway.

The more you interact with your internal constructs of strangers, the more you learn about interacting with yourself. If you inject people you know better into your imaginary world, and try to make them as close to the person you know as possible, you can learn a lot about interacting with others. Even better, since you already know them, the chances of verifying your thought experiments are even better. Then, you can make adjustments for the next time you indulge in your fantasy world.

Fantasies can be light and fleeting, floating like a vapor on the soft summer air. They can be raunchy and sexual and exhilarating. They can be indulgent and a total escape from reality.

But fantasies can also be useful tools for learning how to better interact with the real world. They can help you learn about yourself–your likes, your needs and your wants. They can help you grow into the person you want to be.

Fantasies can be the proving ground for things that, with action, become reality.

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