Hump Day Crush: The Grown-Up Crush

The Grown-Up Crush–Also known as the Adult Crush. This is the main crush the book will deal with. It entails realizing your crushing on someone and using that fantasy relationship to explore aspects of yourself (like what you want and need in a relationship, what you can contribute to one, what really turns you on in meaningful ways in a relationship). A Grown-Up crush is a tool for self-discovery and allows a foundation for a real, solid relationship–either romantic or platonic–to be built.

So what exactly goes into a Grown-Up Crush? There are a few elements that need to be present.

The first (and easiest to acquire) is a crush. You may already have one. If not, one can probably be found the next time you leave the house. Or, if you don’t plan on leaving the house, on the TV or Internet. (Though, really, you should leave the house.) If you’re feeling really adventurous (and have a good memory), you can even use a crush from long ago as the base for the work you’re about to do.

The second thing you need is an actual desire to understand yourself better. Any type of serious introspection can be rough work. We all have things about ourselves that we ignore because we don’t like them or they make us feel uncomfortable. That discomfort and displeasure is increased when we try to face them head on. Then when you throw emotions into the mix… well, things can get messy. Having an honest desire to learn more about yourself–your motivations and responses to what’s going on both inside and outside of your head–will make it easier to face that unpleasantness. Also, if you go into it with the goal of increased self-knowledge, the joy of success will more than make up for the transitory discomfort.

Time is the third thing you’ll need. This is, perhaps, the most important ingredient. Very rarely does insight and understanding happen immediately. Even when it does, it can be a fleeting thing if not followed and properly digested. It is very important to not rush your introspection. Doing so can lead to “false positives” and a skewed view of what’s actually going on. Some realizations that you make may leave you a little shaken. Having the time set aside to adjust to your new equilibrium is a very helpful thing.

An open mind is also required. If you go into a Grown-Up Crush exercise “knowing” how it’s going to turn out, you will not be surprised. With a specific outcome in mind, you can often ignore facts that point in the opposite direction. You can have ideas an suspicions about where your search will lead, but you have to be willing to drop your preconceptions if the facts disagree with what you want the answer to be.

Some amount of current self-awareness is also needed. But most people who can accept the idea of a Grown-Up Crush already have some of that.

All of those ingredients go into the basics of a Grown-Up Crush. In practice, the actual process of the crush may vary wildly from experience to experience.

That is part of the beauty of it all. Every new crush is a new opportunity to discover new things about yourself. The first crush you approach as a learning experience may show you that you are more emotional than you used to think you were. A second crush could help you see some patterns in your communication style that are beneficial (or detrimental) to an actual relationship. A third crush could take everything that’s gone before and twist it up by exposing how much you let your own fantasies bleed into what should be the reality of the other person.

The Grown-Up Crush is, by definition, an internal exercise. It is centered around an imaginary relationship at first. As you become more comfortable with how your fantasy differs from reality, you can begin to bring the two into parity. You learn to deal with your fantasy and your reality in different, yet congruent, ways. Then, when you’ve (more or less) achieved that balance, you can move from an imaginary relationship into a real one.

(More details of the process will be  dealt with in future posts. This is just a very basic intro I’m working on.)

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