It is normal for children to fantasize. Some children fantasize more than others. Children who are more creative and artistic may fantasize more than noncreative children. According to psychodynamic theory, children fantasize or daydream about aspects of themselves that they wish were true. That seems to be what you were doing. You were fantasizing about the other children who you believed to be better than you. You wished you were them and so you became them in your fantasies.
Teenagers fantasize as well. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to fantasize about being friends with celebrities. They may even brag to their friends that they know and socialize with particular celebrities. The rationale for lying to their peers is that it makes them seem more important or desirable than they feel they are. This may serve to increase their self-esteem.
As an adult, you continue to engage in a high level of fantasy. Daydreaming is normal but not to the point where you neglect and never develop the “real” you. This issue is related to poor self-image. You don’t like who you are and because of this, you pretend to be someone else. The solution is to develop a better self-image. This can be achieved with therapy.
According to psychoanalytic theory, it is important that individuals learn who they are and to be happy with themselves. Carl Jung refers to this process as individuation. Abraham Maslow, founder of humanistic theory, calls this process self-actualization. Self-actualization is the process of becoming more fully yourself and to realize your potentials. Self-actualizing individuals are thought to be the only mentally healthy people, according to this theory. They are considered psychologically healthy for many reasons, two of which include being satisfied with who they are and not desiring to be someone else.
The aforementioned remarks are an oversimplification of psychoanalytic theory. Carl Jung’s individuation process and Maslow’s theory of self-actualization state that it is important to be satisfied with who you are. You are not satisfied with yourself but you can change this, with therapy.
Here is a link to Psychology Today. It is a website in which you can type in your zip code and search for a therapist in your area. I wish you well. Thank you for writing.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on April 24, 2010.