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- How to create an imaginary friend: a simple walkthrough.
- Our goal is to create a "character", and then sort of play them out yourself until you do it so much your subconscious picks it up, and it ends up playing them automatically. This is all a trick of the brain, and therefore mindset is 80% of the work here
- A few key points to keep in mind:
- - When I refer to "talking to your friend", I am telling you to do so in your mind through thoughts, I don't mean talking to them out loud.
- - Forget about things like volition / sentience, those are meaningless, just don't bother with them.
- - Its important to not lose track of what it is you're dealing with. This is all brain tricks. Keeping that in mind will prevent a lot of future frustration and questions
- - The analitical view I take on this little walkthrough isn't meant to belittle imaginary friends or what they are capable of. Saying we are just an aglomerate of atoms would be correct, but it wouldn't deter from our complexity, and I would like you to think this way in regards to imaginary friends as well. In time, these friends will inevitably grow to become as complex as normal human beings, and they can provide you with some wonderful experiences, some of which no human can give you.
- With these things in mind, I think it's easy enough to illustrate how to go about it in steps:
- 1. Create and develop a character
- You can think of them as a character you might be creating for a book, and you can even write stories about them or just think about them in order to figure out the basics of how they behave. It's not enough to just have a list of traits like "loving, extrovert" and so on, because those are never enough. The only way to build a solid personality / character, is to put them through experiences, and thinking of how they'd act. Your goal here is to get to know the character up to a point where you can easily answer "what would they do" in certain situations - effectively, you're becoming better at roleplaying the character, if you will. This doesn't need to be greatly involved, and you don't need to look for every answer to every possible scenario. Just like we might not know how to react to unfamiliar situations, it's ok if you don't know how they'd react. Over time, when they're properly "with you", they'll live and go through experiences and grow up as well, just like you do. Also keep in mind that because of this they might change, just like you do.
- Depending on what kinds of interactions you want to have with them, you might prioritize some details over others, but don't be a perfectionist.Don't feel like you have to know EVERYTHING about them, because, again, you don't even know everything about yourself. A good example of a scenario you might run them through is something simple like this:
- Your character goes shopping. Did they go at night, or during the day, and why? Do they go to the supermarket or to the small convinience store? Do they prefer expensive products, or are they fine with saving money for cheaper stuff? A stranger approaches them and asks them something, how do they feel about that? How do they respond? What's their body language like?...
- There's really no recipe here, it's all about asking and answering a million questions. And feel free to take your time answering, but keep in mind that there really are no mistakes. Any inconsistencies you might notice will be ironed out through many many experiences like this one, and you'll see that you'll eventually get to a point where it all just feels effortlessly "right" in a way.
- This step can also of course go beyond their personality, you can decide on what they look like and so on as well, of course. I'd suggest not making them look like anime girls, because you might have trouble interacting with them "physically" in the future.
- I'd suggest around one to three months of doing this sort of prep, anything more than that is just overkill.
- 2. Get your subconscious to play the character
- Now the brain magic begins. This part is all about training yourself to both act out the character automatically, and also to see them as someone independent from youself. After you have a somewhat clear grasp on how your character interacts with more common situations (you should at least know how they react to a "hi, how are you?"), you can start actually talking and interacting with them yourself, a la crazy person. This might feel really awkward at first, but it'll get better with time, I promise. Talk to them and really try thinking of them as a separate entity from yourself, and then "answer" for them as you know they would. Think of it as them answering, but since they aren't very vocal yet, you answering for them is just you solidifying what you know they're feeling / thinking. Other than voice, you can also try interacting with their body, and this is where meditation / visualization really comes in. If you aren't good at it (most people aren't, don't worry), it's your chance to practice, so don't worry too much and just try!
- There really isn't much more to it than this. Do this enough times WITH THE RIGHT MINDSET, and your brain will pick it up eventually. Mindset is really everything here. More than "playing" your character flawlessly, you have to really see them as their own person, and see their answers as not you thinking for them, but rather as them doing it themselves. If you're having trouble with this sort of thing, you can use symbolism to help. Whenever you want to talk to them, you can use an imaginary microphone or whatever, and that way it might help make the distinction more clear in your head.
- This step is usually where people get frustrated, and that's because they think of it as a step, when in reality it's actually not really a step. Going back to the thing about not obssessing over perfection, at this point, you can and should start interacting / having fun with your new friend. KNOW they are there, and know they are listening and absorbing whatever experiences you're sharing with them, even if at first it might seem like you're just dragging their limp body along. This is all gradual, until eventually it'll dawn on you that you're actually not alone right now, and that you actually had a conversation with someone who feels like another person.
- I understand that this step might seem a bit ??? profit, but there really isn't much more to it than persistence. I'd say it takes about 3 - 6 months to feel like you really have another person in your head, but this of course will change depending on your mindset, most of all. Also you can always have fun with your friend even if they aren't really "automatic" yet, and you should as well! Just keep playing them out, and your brain will soon get the idea.
- 3. Interacting with your friend, and enhancing interactions
- Step three is all about enhancing your interactions with them, and again, it's not really a step, it's just a thing you can work on. Most of your interactions will be through meditation, at least at first, and especially the more involved ones which involve touch, for instance. There are many many things you can try, and it can feel very liberating having that kind of freedom. The first thing I'd do would be practicing your imagined body. visualize a place, and see yourself there. touch yourself, your face, your hands, feel the touch, feel any wind, smell stuff, feel your own weight, and so on. BE there, and practice being there.
- From there, practice touching your friend. Touch their hands, face (face is really good, because it's really bumpy), hair, and so on, and let them touch you back. If you feel inclined, you can also practice fun stuff like kissing / holding hands and going for a walk, or stuff like that. Again, no recipes, and there's a lot you can do / feel. Be creative.
- The first step is really the only one which you need to do first and before the other two, but the latest two steps can be worked on at the same time. Eventually, you'll reach a point where step two is irrelevant and you don't need to think about it, but step three can be an ongoing process, especially if you're interested in experimenting with many different feelings (turns out you can do a lot in the realm of imagination).
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