How to Recover From the Death of a Fantasy

In Professional Achievement, Professional Advice, Self-Development by Andrew GabelicLeave a Comment

I dared to dream.

I dared to believe that it was finally over. The moment seemed perfect. The situation felt right. The story seemed to be reaching a conclusion, and for a moment, I could see the light.

At first I couldn’t allow myself to believe it. I said “don’t build yourself up for disappointment”.

I’ve learned my lesson before. When you hope, and are let down, it hurts ten times more. When you forget hope, and accept things the way they are, the pain is more bearable.

But I fell into the trap. I let myself believe. I dreamed and I hoped and sure enough, I was let down.

Before you continue reading, you must come to terms with reality. Your fantasy is dead.

A part of you wants to believe that this post will bring it back. You want me to give you the strength to continue searching for it. I’m sorry to say that you’re not here to resurrect your fantasy. It’s gone. You should mourn it, write a beautiful eulogy, leave flowers by its grave, shed a few tears, and move on.

Don’t repress your emotions, there is nothing wrong with mourning your loss. You don’t need to feel weak for believing in a fantasy that was unlikely to materialize in the first place. We have all experienced the same pain. We have all hoped that a certain situation would unfold in a fairy tale fashion. If you act like you’re strong enough to move on without letting yourself hurt, you’ll turn this situation into an obstacle, rather than an opportunity.

Yes, this is an opportunity. You may fail to see it if you ignore your pain. You may fail to open the door if you drown in your sorrows. Neither extreme will lead you to realize that this is actually the best thing that has ever happened to you. You have the power to turn everything into the best thing that has ever happened to you.

It’s a good thing that this hurts. It’s a good thing that your plans changed. It’s a good thing that it never happened. The fantasy is gone for a reason. The pain has come with a purpose. A happy ending is very much in sight. The fantasy is gone, but the dream will never die.

Look back on your life. Count all of the fantasies that never came to be – all of the crushes that never turned into relationships, the interviews that never became offers, and the colleges that never sent you acceptance letters. Count all of the paths you once wished you had walked down but were eventually happy you were blocked from doing so. Look back on your most memorable journeys.

What are some of the paths you were forced to walk down that gave you unimaginable blessings? What are some of the most incredible surprises life has given you? What are some of the situations you can’t imagine your life without? Who did you meet under those circumstances? What kinds of wonderful gifts did those people bring into your life? Did you ever fantasize about those things in exactly the same way in which they happened?

Isn’t it funny? We hurt when our fantasies die, yet we forget that no fantasy of ours has ever come true (at least not in the way we thought it would). We mourn our fantasies, yet we forget that reality has always surpassed them in quality. When it comes down to it, we react to life the way we react to movies: we love to keep guessing, but we hate when we guess correctly. We love to predict the ending, but we hate to be told what the ending will be.

There is a difference between dreams and fantasies. Dreams are the essence of what you’re searching for; fantasies are stories about the process in which you easily and effortlessly achieve your dreams.

The fantasy is gone, but the dream will never die. The process will change, but your dream will be within reach as long as you’re willing to fight for it. Circumstances can kill your fantasies, but only you can kill your dreams.

Maybe you’re not as upset as you think you are. Maybe you’re happy that you were wrong. Maybe you knew it was never going to happen the entire time. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you have always understood that fantasies are, by their very nature, unrealistic. You’ve always known this, yet are always tempted to fall under their spell.

Why do you do this? Why do you convince yourself that fantasies are possible when you know that they’re not? Why do you chase your dreams thinking that they will easily fall out of the sky and right into your hands?

Fantasies fill a very important role in our lives. They are the only way to keep ourselves motivated. They are the only way to make ourselves act in the pursuit of our dreams. If we knew how hard it really is to get to where we want to go, and how much work it will take us to get there, we would probably never move from where we are. It is when we fool ourselves into thinking that all we need is a tiny effort that we spring into action, hoping for fortune to do the rest. When fortune inevitably fails us, we build a new fantasy, and march on forward.

Fantasies are carrots that we tie to sticks and place on our own heads. They keep us marching towards an unknown destination. They take us to wherever it is we need to go.

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You will never experience your fantasies. No matter how many things you envision actually come into fruition, they will not happen how you expected them to, and they will never be what you wanted them to be. However painful all that sounds, it’s no reason to give up on your journey, no reason to sit down and do nothing.

You’re supposed to do everything to accomplish your fantasies because they will lead you to discover something else, something you’re supposed to discover,  something bigger than all of your fantasies combined. Think about Christopher Columbus. He was ambitious and perseverant about discovering a new route to the Indies. Do you think he regretted his journey because he didn’t accomplish his original goal? His fantasy led him to make an incredible discovery. It led him to fulfill his ultimate purpose in life.

You’re supposed to chase down your fantasies. Not because you will ever get to experience them, but because the search for them will force you to take yourself on a journey that you’re supposed to go on.

You want life to deliver your dreams in a way that you could never have anticipated, and never thought would be possible. You want to find something that is better than any fantasy you’ve ever had. You want to get to a place that you can’t even imagine from where you stand.

Wipe your tears off. You don’t want things to happen the way you hope they will. You want to be surprised.

Your life has a purpose that is bigger than anything you could ever dream of, fantasize about, or hope for. When the time is right, that purpose will make itself clear.

When that day finally comes, you’ll understand what all of this heartbreak was really for, and why you had to live through these trials during this chapter of your life.

March on forward. Build a new fantasy. Find another carrot, tie it to that stick, and keep walking.

Success is inevitable. Your luck is bound to change. Be patient, be strong, and dream on.

Andrew Gabelic is the CEO & Founder of Teledipity, a free pocket life coach with an eerie ability to send you the right self-improvement content at the right time (based on your personality and life stage). Check out what it says about you!