Imagination can be a double-edged sword. On one hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better than it actually is and on the other hand it can make a not so nice world seem a lot better that it actually is. Confused yet? Let me explain.
This has been a topic of much contemplation lately. The down side of imagination is when a person paints over a dangerous or destructive relationship or situation with her imagination. Making something that she should run away from seem like a situation where everything is great. This happens a lot with people who have experienced abuse. They think that their partner who is abusive to them is actually something that they are not, for example that they are kind and loving instead of violent or demeaning. This kind of imagination is more of a curse than a blessing.
On the contrary, when times are tough in a way that a person has no control to change, an imagination can be a wonderful tool of survival. Being able to imagine something better in order to stay hopeful and positive can be a tremendous asset. Imagination can also be wonderful if a person has a talented imagination they can make a pretty good living utilizing it–or so I have heard.
Imagination, blessing or curse? It depends on the circumstances. It is never a good idea to detach too far from reality. Reality is a grounding point of reference that is a necessity. However, to take a few fleeting flights of fantasy away from reality in order to contemplate the what ifs in life can be quite productive. It can illuminate possibilities, help to develop goals, and assist in problem solving.
At the end of the day, it’s the results that count. If a person is living with her head in the imagination clouds too much there won’t be much in the way of positive results in her real life. However, if there is too little imagination, like an engine with no oil, the mind can begin to overheat. The balanced imagination offers time to dream and time to take the realistic actions needed to bring those dreams into reality. In balance, imagination might not be a bad thing after all.