A “fantasy self” is a term used in minimalism communities to describe the person you imagine yourself being. When you picture you at your best–at your most productive, accomplished, skilled, wonderful, happy self–what do you see?
Are you a successful businesswoman who gets takeout sushi for lunch and always looks sleek in brand name suits? Are you a multi-talented artist juggling painting, photography, guitar, writing, and any other number of creative skill sets? Maybe you’re the perfect homemaker who keeps a 100% tidy home, 100% well-behaved children, 100% perfect pets, and still manages to satisfy your personal emotional needs?
Any one person could be any of these things. But the fantasy self is the image we imagine but never quite achieve.
The problem with a fantasy self is that it often prevents us from seeing what we are and what we have. It prevents us from maximizing ourselves in our current environment, as we gather ideas and goals of who we will be in the future–distracting from who we are now. A fantasy self can lead to disappointment, frustration, and a feeling of never being quite enough.
Maybe you aren’t eating sushi for lunch in your nice suit. But you do have a fulfilling work life with close colleagues. Maybe you aren’t adept at photography, painting, guitar, etc., but you have a wonderful knack for design that brightens any room. And I’m definitely skeptical of anyone who claims to have a perfectly clean house AND well behaved kids.
It’s not that any of these goals aren’t achievable. It’s that often our focus on the fantasy of who we could be detracts from the successes and happiness of the moments we do have.
Minimalists are fond of this terminology because focus on the fantasy self often involves a commercial aspect. Are you purchasing things that you think your fantasy life would have? I used to have multiple handbags, even though I know I’m unlikely to swap between purses unless there’s a dire emergency.
I have books I will probably never read that seem like the type of book a person like me (or my fantasy self) would or should read.
Heck, I even have a guitar that I will never learn to play.
I’ve even realized lately that my 30 by 30 bucket list item to get a tattoo is probably more for my fantasy self than my real self. I love the look of women with beautiful, full sleeves. But I don’t think non-fantasy Amanda actually wants a tattoo. Because when non-fantasy Amanda wanted other alternative looks–piercings and hair dye–I just did it without a second thought.
What’s your fantasy self? Can you identify the clutter in your life coming from your fantasy goals? Do you find your fantasy self motivating? Check back for more musing in my multi-part blog series investigating the fantasy self.