Awhile back I read something on one of my favorite blogs that really struck me. It came from this post and bluntly stated that we should label daydreams as what they really are: lust. At first that seemed a little harsh to me. Lust? Isn't that purely physical? Isn't that, like the really bad stuff? Daydreams are just fun things you get to get lost in for awhile. Those happy thoughts that are exciting to escape to when you're wishing life were just a little bit better.
You see, I've been a daydreamer for as long as I can remember. And by daydreams I mean thinking about the current boy I had a crush on. I never had a tough life I was trying to escape, it was just something I can always remember doing. It made me happy and gave me something to get excited about. And my daydreams weren't just about running into the guy I liked at the mall, they involved elaborate plots and ridiculous romantic comedy-like endings. A hopeless romantic to the core, this has always been a part of who I am, and I never really saw a problem with it.
It wasn't until the past year or so, and particularly even this week, that I finally got hit upside the head with the weight of the damage this mindset was causing. Realizing I have emotionally invested myself in a person that has never returned even 1/50th of those emotions felt like a punch in the stomach and a breakup I wasn't even slightly prepared for. How did this happen? How did I let it get to this point? I have a mile long list of exactly how I let it get to this point, some outside factors, but most that I have no one to blame for but myself. I obviously won't go into all the details, but I did feel compelled to share my heart with you in case I can save any of you dear readers from this hurt and regret.
Here are some of the reasons why I believe daydreaming is so dangerous:
You create your own reality that doesn't exist
Daydreams aren't real life. They aren't flesh and blood. They're what you want life to look like in your head. And most of the time that looks like a life that serves and meets your own needs. Which is never going to happen. So you're setting yourself up for failure and disappointment, as well as the person you're daydreaming about. They don't stand a chance to love you in their own unique way, when you've already decided how they are going to ("perfectly") love you.
You get emotionally involved with a person without a committed relationship
Similarly to how physical involvement with a person creates a strong emotional bond to them, your heart and thoughts can also tie you to a person without you even realizing it. Caring and praying for a person from afar can feel like a good and healthy thing to do, but is unhealthy when you aren't in a mutually caring relationship you both can grow and benefit from.
It can distract you from living the life that's right in front of you
Some daydreams can be so deep that they actually hinder you from living out the reality that's in front of you. You can hold on to an idea or a person that may never happen, meanwhile passing up great opportunities that are actually real life.
Maybe that all makes sense to you. I think these are all things I would have agreed on as being true, and yet it felt so out of my control to stop these thoughts. As well as unnecessary at times. So even though I am still in the thick of learning what it looks like to curb these unhealthy thoughts and daydreams, I know there are some steps I can be taking, and I encourage you to take as well, if this is something you might be struggling with.
Remove things that might be feeding these daydreams
I know it might feel silly to believe that movies and books are affecting your thoughts, but they totally are. The things we choose to fill our mind with are what is going to come back out in the end. So reading and watching things that are wholesome and healthy and inspiring are going to benefit you infinetely more than an unrealistic love story.
Spend time living and loving in the present
Pour your heart and your energy into the relationships that are apart of you now. Fill your time with hobbies and jobs and activities that make you feel alive, and that you can commit your whole heart to.
Take your thoughts captive
This is the toughest by far, but you need to hear me say it is not impossible. The lie we so often fall victim to is that our thoughts and emotions are completely out of our control. Yes there are things that happen to us that we have no control over. But we always have the ability to determine how we will respond. If we can't be disciplined in our thought life, then we will begin to believe we don't have control over other areas in our life as well. Recognize when your mind begins to wander down a "dreamy" path and make a conscious effort to turn and walk another way. Tell yourself that you are saving your heart from future hurt and pain. And that your future boyfriend/spouse deserves a fighting chance to love you in the amazing way that they know how to, not the way you have dictated.
Don't be so hard on yourself
If this is part of your story, and you've recognized the hurt that has come out of it, don't beat yourself up on past mistakes. I might be mostly speaking to myself here, but I sure know that berating myself doesn't solve any problems.
Wow, guess I didn't realize I had so much to say about this. If you're still reading, thank you. If this is something you struggle with, I hope my words and story were able to resonate with you. And as always, I am so thankful for how kind and supportive you all always are, and for allowing this to be a place where I can share my heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23
From my grateful and healing heart,