It was one of my therapists who first enlightened me. “I just don’t know why I like him so much. He doesn’t feel the same way and I know it,” I managed to choke out through sobs. “What do you like about him?” she asked. Well he’s smart, funny, wacky, he travels a lot, and makes lots of money doing something he loves …” She stopped me right there and offered some life-changing feedback. “Maybe you don’t like him, maybe you just want to be him.”Nail. Head. Hit. Hard. I subscribe to the idea that the people in our lives are mirrors. Some are mirrors reflecting what we are and some what we aren’t. I couldn’t get over this guy because he possessed the qualities that I wasn’t yet able to manifest within my life. I wanted his happy-go-lucky, balls-out attitude, I longed for his trips to India, and most of all, I envied his career. I transmuted my admiration for his best qualities and my own concerns about where I was lacking in life, into romantic feelings that weren’t actually there. While I might admire a person I genuinely like (that’s a good thing!), I can’t genuinely like someone and want to be like them at the same time.
Yesterday Amelia asked how you know when you really like someone. I’m not sure I can answer that question. But whenever I am hung up on someone, crushing, liking, lusting, or even loving, I find it helpful to ask myself, What do I like about him? If I come up with a list of qualities that seem suspiciously like my weak spots, it’s a sign that my feelings may not be sincere. My next order of business? Foster those qualities within myself.