The Lessons Our Crushes Teach Us

There is nothing more pleasant, yet in so many subtle ways more poignant, than a brief sight of some stranger whom we so intensely admire. It is an immediate and universal promise that we hastily conclude: if the right circumstances allowed, if the infatuation was reciprocated, if this gloriously matchless beauty became all ours, then all our insecurities and miserable tragedies will at last be cleansed.


However, bizarrely enough, a conclusion so gigantically vast is often reached with superficially scarce clues: a dress worn in a certain way, eyes so thoughtful yet so cheerful, a curly hair indicating an unwavering sense of humor, or simply a voice that renders us so lovingly defenseless. In other words, our crushes’ lives and personalities get sweepingly reduced to a mere certain characteristic.


However, although hasty and arbitrary, having a crush can be a unique opportunity for learning more about and knowing ourselves.


As children, if we were lucky enough, we were nurtured with large doses of love and affection, despite our constant tantrums and misbehaving. When signs of uncomfortableness or hungriness arose, our parents would rush unhesitatingly to calm and comfort us; in short, we were loved despite all our physical and mental imperfections.

Nonetheless, accompanying the seemingly unconditional love our parents so readily offered, were obvious and profound emotions and behaviors that we did and still confuse and conflate with love: anger, sadness, seriousness, and all the other possibilities with which our parents lacked in their parenting.


As children, for instance, due to the immense seriousness of our household, we might grow to be too serious or too cold. Or we might be too melodramatic and wild. Or it could be that we are too chaotic and unstable. In short, we-- similar to our parents-- grow profoundly imbalanced and gravely imperfect in certain areas of our lives.


This imbalance—which becomes so ingrained in us that we cease to discern it— renders attraction and beauty subjective. That woman who looked innocently and childishly skeptical at the aisle—a complete stranger—refuse to exit our minds, for her jokingly cheerful smile promises our grimly serious life perpetual jubilance.


Then, it should not come to us as a surprise when our friends don’t find our crushes that attractive at all, precisely because they had markedly different upbringings-- and imbalances that they seek to fix.


This, however, need not necessarily lead us to be fatalistics who succumb to our dysfunctional upbringing. It should lend us comfort, for when we develop a strong infatuation for a mere stranger, it serves as an opportunity to elucidate and examine our own imbalances and shortcomings. We can, by thoroughly examining our crushes, understand and eventually sympathize with our deep selves.



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