Ask Deepak: How to Stop Daydreaming and Be Self-Reliant
June 23, 2010
Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I feel it is easier to live in fantasy, daydreams and passivity than living real life. It seems whenever I take a stab at trying to live real life, I get slapped back because I don't know what I truly want, or I want the wrong thing. How can I get out of the daydreaming and move on? Sometimes it is also impatience that gets to me too and lets me slip back into just existing. I don't want to just exist anymore, but I don't know what living real life looks like either.
— Amanda R., Littleton, Colorado
You skipped an essential part of growing up, which is self-reliance. It's not reality that is stopping you. It's the lack of a center. This is a tricky problem to solve, because I suspect the basic building blocks weren't put in place when you were a child. You are likely to have been a very dependent child, and your parents protected you instead of showing you how to become strong on our own. The only other situation that could have brought you to where you are is a severe history of abuse, which I hope isn't the case. (If so, you need to seek professional help, even though that will require a lot of courage.)
Because you don't have a strong center, I think you need to bond with someone who does. Most dependent people seek strong spouses who are parental substitutes—they provide guidance and boundaries, and all decisions are left to them, as are the responsibilities of being an adult. Perhaps you are in such a relationship. It will only reinforce the gaps in your growing up, I'm afraid.
What you need isn't someone to take care of you, but someone who can show you how to take care of yourself. The bond must not be another kind of dependency. Can you find a person you can totally trust who will guide you to adulthood? This job is too big for you to handle on our own. But in the community of counselors, mentors and strong friends, there are resources for you to seek out. I hope this helps.