A Jewish matchmaker discusses your fantasy self vs your authentic self

The concept of your “fantasy self” has recently come into my awareness and I’m fascinated. I’ve seen its effects discussed in various aspects of life, but I want to focus on its effect in dating.

What is it?

Your fantasy self is the version of you that you hold space for in your imagination, but who rarely manifests in real life. Yet although that version of you rarely makes an appearance in your life, you make decisions based on that image as though he/she is “real”. Let me give an example.

Imagine a woman who has a kitchen stocked with all the latest cooking and baking gadgets, shelves buckling under the weight of unread cookbooks, and a pantry full of exotic spices – yet she usually dines out or if eating at home, prepares something simple, quick or on-the-go. The reality of this woman is that she doesn’t have or take the time to prepare gourmet meals but she has this image of herself that one day in the future, she will whip up lavish dishes and decadent desserts and finally become the chef that she imagines herself to be. This image causes her to buy a lot of things that she will never actually use and that end up just gathering dust and taking up space in her home.  That image is her fantasy self.

Maybe you know someone who has all the latest ski equipment but rarely or never goes skiing. Or someone who has a closet full of designer dresses and suits, yet shows up in casual wear like leggings and an oversized shirt. These are all examples of a fantasy self that resides in the imagination, but doesn’t make an appearance in reality.

An example from my own life (and one that I recently dissolved) is my fantasy self who is fluent in Hebrew. Having lived in Israel, I am able to speak and understand Hebrew – but not fluently. My fantasy self blocks out time once a day to review old ulpan books, writes down the new words and spends time reviewing and learning so I can converse with the natives. The real me doesn’t study once a day or once a week or even once a month. And my stack of aleph through dalet level workbooks were gathering dust in my closet year after year. Yet I held onto them. When I finally acknowledged that those books and that ideal of regular study belong to my fantasy self, I was able to let them go and accept that my current level of comprehension is likely as far as I’m going to go in Hebrew.

That acceptance is very important because that is ACCEPTANCE OF SELF. Acceptance of self is extremely important in forming any kind of relationship with another – particularly, a romantic one.

Why “break-up”?

From my perspective, breaking up with our fantasy self, in all its incarnations, will allow more of our authentic self to show and to shine. And it is only when we present our authentic self to the world (and to ourselves) that we can hope to find a partner who is compatible with us and with whom we are compatible! <3

So how do you breakup with your fantasy self? First, you’ve got to reveal the fantasy. One way to do that is to evaluate your spending habits and what you collect. Are you a guy who has spent thousands on building an extensive LP collection but who rarely puts on an album to enjoy? Are you the type who can’t pass up a bookstore yet has shelves of books that go unread? Is your closet full of colorful floral prints and chunky jewelry, but in your day-to-day you’re a minimalist who wears neutrals and simple gold hoops?

We spend a lot of money and give a lot of our space to our fantasy self. Sometimes, we physically alter our real self in favor of our fantasy self. If your fantasy self is a sexy, blonde vixen in stiletto heels who plays it cool in love, yet your real self is a bubbly brunette who favors a ratty pair of jeans, board games, and has a jealous streak – well, it’s not too difficult to see that posing as your fantasy self is not likely to attract a guy that you can connect to on a deep level. You will always be pretending to be someone else in order to hold on to the relationship. A relationship that is doomed to fail.

Now that you know how to spot the fantasy self – the next step is to breakup with him/her. That means letting go of the material possessions that keep you connected to the fantasy. Clear out your closet, your collections, your cabinets and your storage spaces of all the items that you DO NOT USE. I advise you to watch some decluttering/minimalist videos for assistance with this.

The next step is to take an honest look at the image that you are projecting to see if it truly matches the person you feel you are inside. Anything that doesn’t align should be recalibrated with authenticity as the goal. Put aside those ideas you have in your head about what “women are looking for” or “men are looking for” and understand that the RIGHT person for you is looking for…. YOU!!!! The only way you will be found by that person is if you move in the world as your real self. Breaking up with your fantasy self is easy once you embrace the wonder and beauty of the real you, the authentic you, the you that is already somebody’s fantasy. <3

If you missed last month’s blog post, click here.

For more about your fantasy self, click here.