We’ve all at some time been held in the grips of infatuation, and/or of feeling very impressed with somebody.
And infatuation is – by definition – an intense and short-lived experience. Nobody stays infatuated. Which is not to say that infatuation and the accompanying feelings – longing, devotion, etc. – aren’t real.
However, a lot of us have learned the painful way that infatuation isn’t necessarily a thing to allow to guide your decisions. Infatuation isn’t, for example, a solid basis for a relationship. Unlike ingredients such as common values, mutual appreciation, admiration, respect, love and desire.
So why do we become infatuated? What useful purpose does it serve?
And what can we do to get perspective when we are being consumed by infatuation?
1. infatuation and being impressed are forms of projection
Every self respecting millennial has come across the term ‘projection’. But are you clear on what it actually means in the context of infatuation?
Psychological projection is a theory that says we deny the existence of certain unconscious impulses or qualities, whilst at the same time attributing them to others. Why we do this is something I have written about in a previous post.
Infatuation is a form of projection, albeit a form of positive projection. Nonetheless, when it happens, you can guarantee that there is a form of denial going on.Infatuation is a form of positive projection Click To Tweet
That can be a difficult thing to see. But contemplate your past infatuations for a moment. Maybe you can acknowledge a form of projection was taking place. Otherwise, perhaps this person was giving you a feeling that you were not giving yourself (also a form of projection). A lot of us do not treat ourselves with love and unconditional acceptance.
2. we all project slightly differently
Because we are all unique, we all project slightly different traits.
That said, many of us disown the same traits. Remember that we disown positive and negative traits (not only the negative as is commonly thought).You have to get to the bottom of your own reasons for becoming infatuated Click To Tweet
Examples of positive traits we disown include charisma, charm and courage. So when someone happens to come along bearing those things, they ‘hook’ us easily. When we aren’t actively looking to become aware of our Shadow aspects (our Hidden selves), we remain vulnerable – willing even – to being hooked in such a way.
To understand why you become infatuated, you need to be willing to observe yourself closely:
- Some people enjoy the feeling of being infatuated. Their personality types mean that they are addicted to the highs and inevitable lows of idolizing someone and then having them fall from grace.
- Some of us become infatuated because the object of our desires reaffirms our self image. For example, we can get infatuated with those who we see as being in need of help or fixing, or those who are dominating.
- Others get infatuated with a person with traits that are going unacknowledged in themselves. For a long time, I hid creativity, competence and confidence (I repressed them down). Consequently, I felt a strong pull towards any dude that came along that had those characteristics.
- As stated above, some of us become infatuated with people who are giving us attention. Usually, it means there is an underlying self-worth issue.
Our infatuations therefore become our allies; great clues to disowned parts of ourselves. These parts hold a lot of power over us until we make them conscious.
3. we recover our power only through practicing self awareness
You can only really examine your infatuations by bringing mindful awareness to your emotional experience. You need to make room for your feelings and accept them.
What is it about this person that is so captivating?
Sometimes, we won’t get to the bottom of an infatuation situations. Sometimes the reason we get hooked is buried so deep within our subconscious mind, that it remains outside of our awareness. In those situations, the best we can do is own the truth that we are not our feelings. Feelings, just like thoughts, come and go.Sometimes, you won't figure out why you became infatuated until a long time after Click To Tweet
If the object of your infatuation is a person who matches your interest, feeling infatuated needn’t be a problem.
However if, as is often the case, it isn’t someone who is mirroring your interest, then cognitive diffusion (the process of seeing your thoughts and feelings as passing ships) is the way to go. Cognitive diffusion is a mindfulness technique from Acceptance and Commitment therapy, which you can learn more about here.
4. being infatuated doesn’t mean there isn’t a solid basis for a relationship
(This only applies if you are interested in having a relationship.)
Just because you’re infatuated doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a solid basis for a relationship. But the two things do need to be separated out.
How do you know whether your infatuation could materialize into something substantial?
You have to figure out what you value in life and in your partner. Choosing romantic partners needs to be based on values; not infatuation.Infatuation doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a solid basis for a relationship there Click To Tweet
If you want relationship fulfillment, you’re better off selecting a person with the qualities you know you are looking for. It needs to be a conscious, awakened decision.
Otherwise, it is worth hanging in there and waiting for that itch to stop itching.
Which it will. It always does.
Infatuation is less about other people, and everything about us.
After a period of growth and awareness work, you may notice fewer incidents of infatuation. It happens naturally once you begin owning all of your positive and negative traits, and start giving yourself what you truly need.
That doesn’t mean we cease seeing the wonder in others. In fact, we see the inherent beauty in other people more often!
It just means nobody’s on the pedestal. After all, it’s lonely up there (and down there, too).