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What if Crushing Didn't Have to Feel Stressful?

Lately, I’ve been expanding what it means to me to have a “crush.”

And I’m well versed in having crushes.

When I was in the fifth grade I remember crushing on four different people at the same time.

I guess I’ve always been a slut for love 🤷🏻‍♂️

Not sorry 😌

Moving into adulthood, not much has changed.

I’ve got a big ooey gooey heart and a genuine curiosity to get to know people 💗

In the past, I related to having a “crush” as having a desire to be with someone romantically. Within that context, my crushes always had an end-goal attached - to date the other person...often times monogamously, and then eventually non-monogamously.

The eruptive crush energy would get channeled into tunnel vision towards this end goal. I would become hyper focused on the other person and the way they were perceiving me. I would (consciously or subconsciously) hide the parts of myself I didn’t find attractive and selectively highlight the parts of me I found most impressiveor rather, what I perceived my crush would find most impressive.

this photo is unedited. Mika took it at golden hour ✨

In other words, my crush energy used to be so attached to pursuing an end goal that I would manipulate the way others would see me. The more I experience life on this magical planet, the more it becomes clear to me that control is really an illusion. No matter how hard I attempted to make someone perceive me the way I wanted to be perceived, ultimately, they would perceive me how they were gonna perceive me. Part of my codependency recovery is understanding that I can’t actually control others.

The attempt to manipulate others’ perceptions so that I could reach my end goal, really just had me disconnected from my own truth. It was an empty chase - channeling that explosive crush energy into manufacturing my appearance at the expense of authenticity…and often my enjoyment. That’s where my anxious-avoidant attachment comes into play. If I would feel satisfied with the image of myself I was marketing to the target of my desires, I would then take space so as to preserve this image without risking “messing it up.” Dating used to be stressful for me. Even having crushes was often a stressful experience because of how attached I was to the outcome.

Living in my head felt safer, yes. But what was it costing me?

Not only am I disconnected from my own authenticity when I’m chasing an outcome, but I’m also disconnected from the actual vibe that my crush and I are sharing together. I’m so in my head and hyper focused on the image I'm projecting that I barely get to know the real version of the other person either. In place of authenticity, I would cling to the fantasy in my head about who that person was and what we could be together. So dreamy 🤤

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling exhausted by chasing an illusion…and, ultimately, dissatisfied. Even if I do “achieve” my end goal of dating the person - the relationship usually starts out in fantasy land. Of course this dream bubble pops eventually and then I get disappointed or resentful that reality is not living up to my expectations. Often times, I’ll discover that we were not actually compatible or aligned in the ways that feel the most meaningful.

I could write a whole nother article about feeling like a failure when a relationship “ends.” The way society views “single” people as a problem to solve. Lonely or undesirable. This is not true, of course, but feeling like a failure on top of feeling the disappointment when the fantasy bubble pops, really just put salt in the wound.

29 laps around the sun later, and here I am - observing the same patterns play out. With this last round of fantasy crush bubble pop, I now have the clarity to create an off ramp for myself so I’m not repeating the same cycle over and over again until my body eventually re-integrates into the earth. Awareness creates the opportunity for choice. Rather than being consumed by the crush energy I get to choose how I show up.

Now-a-days I’m relating to what it means to have a crush in a whole new way - a conscious way. A way that is unattached to the outcome. In a society that prioritizes romantic love over all other relationships, it can be easy to fall into the thirst trap for approval and “success” (not being "single"). However, right now I’m crushing on someone new - and, for the first time, that means something completely different than ever before.

How I’m relating to the word “crush” right now has nothing to do with romance. Rather than hyper focusing on an end goal, which usually motivates me to manipulate my behavior, crushing now means an energy of curiosity and excitement. I’m acknowledging the excitement of energy moving through my body, the curiosity to spend more time with someone and get to know them better without making the mistake of projecting a fantasy over them in way that veils who they really are.

Forcing things into a very specific outcome doesn’t bring me the satisfaction or level of connection my spirit craves. Instead of pursuing or chasing a romantic relationship, I’m allowing myself the space to get curious and see where we authentically overlap. It could be that, what I thought would become a romantic relationship, is actually better suited for a deep spiritual, platonic bond. You never know unless you let whatever is organic between two people to unfold without interference. This is a spiritual practice. Surrendering to the truth of what is. Not trying to fit a triangle into a square hole in order to keep up my public image or even how lovable or desirable I see myself.

Part of transitioning into secure attachment is divesting from societal narratives that being “successful” means being romantically desired. That really limits the potential for authentic connection to unfold organically. Relationship anarchy is all about honoring truth and leaning into the unfolding, not knowing where it will lead you, and not being attached to the outcome. It doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings about the outcome. Maybe my heart gets broken in the process. Maybe I don’t get the outcome I thought I wanted or needed. But, ultimately, I’m much more satisfied in life when I allow myself to feel my feelings - my disappointment, my heartbreak.

Because if I were to cling to societal views of what relationship “success” looks like, I would be trapped in these old cycles of clinging to one particular person, trying to force the pieces to fit. With so much energy going into the forcing or manipulating, I wonder what organic connections I’d be missing out on.

I’m excited to be crushing on someone right now. It feels liberating to not feel attached to the outcome. To feel secure in myself no matter how the relationship unfolds. I’m just excited where the possibilities might lead us. Maybe creative collaborations, maybe spiritual connection, maybe romance, maybe not. The outcome truly doesn’t matter to me, and now for the first time in my life, having a crush doesn’t feel stressful, but expansive. I'm basking in the spaciousness and excitement of getting to know someone authentically - without added pressure or urgency. It feels like buckling up for an adventure, not knowing what lies around the corner, but being a “hell yes” for the ride.

thank you, Mika, for capturing me in my essence 📷 😊


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