I’ve read about the concept of “fantasy self” several times over the years that I’ve been interested in the psychology of stuff. Your fantasy self is the version of you in your mind who lives by would, could, and should. She is everything you would do, could say, and should be in the Land of If. You would start an impressive hydroponic garden if you only had the energy. You could be awesome at nunchucks if you put the time in. You should reorganize the attic to be a craft room since all your supplies just sit around in boxes. Here’s the thing about Fantasy You: she’s not you, and she’s not me. Woulds and coulds and shoulds often drag us into guilt, shame, and depression. You end up with a hydroponics kit, nunchucks, and boxes of old crafts sitting unused and taking up space in your home and the back of your mind. And you hold onto it all, just in case you become your Fantasy Self. Both W and I have done this before, and I’m sure we will again because life isn’t perfect…but we’ve each experienced the positive change that can come with letting go. Fantasy Me would totally make gluten free pasta from scratch with that pasta machine, gluten free bread in that bread machine, and healthy homemade popsicles in those molds. But Real Life Me doesn’t, so we let go of most of our single-purpose kitchen appliances last year, freeing up more than one cupboard. Organizers might be the biggest thing Fantasy Me is very into. I’ve suckered myself into buying aaaaaall kinds of organizers over the past decade. Organizers that hang, stack, collapse, and transform in every which way to store and alphabetize objects of any shape or size. Organizers that are this close to self-actualizing and tap dancing out the door to start their own civilization, singing “Hello My Baby” the whole way. Until they can leave on their own, they sit around my closets and corners of my home “just in case.” As it turns out, Real Life Me doesn’t have practical use for more than a few organizers. Out they go!
This isn’t to say that you can never learn to do anything Fantasy Self does, but being honest with yourself about your likes, dislikes, and goals can be effective in narrowing down what you really want to prioritize. Maybe what you really want is that craft room, but you can let go of the other two. Buying, storing, and moving something from home to home throughout your life is you choosing to invest your energy. If you conclude that it’s bringing you down, then lose those ankle weights! You don’t need them! It’s okay to not become Fantasy Self. She’s arguably unattainable by definition. Judging yourself will only reinforce the negativity of would, could, and should. It’s easy to keep doing, but you’re not alone. We’re all in this together, and those who love you already love you. With or without the nunchucks.