When I like something, like most people, I indulge. However, digging deeper, I realized I have over indulged. I tend to give people, ideas, and things that I am drawn to all of me, all my energy, all my attention, and lots of intensity. This is how I have in the past entered relationships with lovers and at times friends. It's also kind of how I have started jobs, projects, and new endeavors. I have been in the habit of being ALL in, over extended, obsessively. What I realized was that the tendency to enjoy or like something at times came with a level of intensity that can be very heavy and not very healthy. So I began to ask myself these questions:
How do you interact with something that you enjoy and like so much when you don't really know how to gauge when it is too much?
How do you discern too much for you?
When you realize it's too much, how do you either gain a healthy level of interaction or pull yourself out?
These questions helped guide me to a more centered balance relationship to my celebrity crush and more than that, finding a more balanced way to engage things that I like, things that I'm drawn to, and things I enjoy in much healthier way. I came up with some tips that helped me move through the feelings to find balance. I shared them below.
1)Allow yourself some indulgence. It's ok to like an artist, a person, an activity, or a thing and its ok to want to engage that activity, person, place, or thing. Those are feelings that most anyone experiences and nothing about that has to become an issue. Looking at videos and listening to music is a great way to cope with life, entertain yourself, or provoke you to dance and get moving. It is over indulgence when you find yourself loosing hours or any significant amount of time from doing it. It is an obsession when you can not stop yourself from doing something that is either distracting you from other more productive behavior. By definition obsession is:
- An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind.
The intrusion is what you have to pay attention to. When the thought invades and seems to control you rather than you controlling it. If you find yourself doing this, allow yourself pieces of time to enjoy. Allow yourself intentional time to indulge. Yes, I know obsession has such a negative connotation and I'm not saying indulge in unhealthy behavior However, trying to go cold turkey in many cases just produces resistance and at times a episode of severe indulgence. You may find yourself in a disappointing cycle because you didn't move with intention and patience with yourself. Maybe go from engaging in the thing for one day instead of every day or 1 hour instead of 7 hours. Cut off a significant amount of time, but allow yourself a realistic amount of time to engage. Deprivation is different from restraint. Holding back may produce some feelings of irritation, but deprivation can cause withdrawal which at times can provoke more aggressive action to get what you are missing. This can be trying on you but it is a lot easier to manage than cutting it off completely. For example, I started watching other music videos and listening to other songs so that I could get the song out of my head and the videos out of my head. Eventually the "need" to watch and listen lessened significantly. This is what helped me realize that this is something that I have done in other situations. What a strange and interesting catalyst this John Legend video had become!
2)Level with yourself. Tell yourself the truth. I had to tell myself "You don't know this man AND he is engaged. You have to KNOW someone in order to have a relationship with them. Reading about him is NOT knowing him." This kind of self talk and truth was very sobering for me. I do this kind of talk with clients as part of my work, but it started with myself and I will continue to do it with myself. I realized a long time ago that telling the truth to myself will only help me, not harm me. This forced me to pay attention to what i was really drawn to. I had to admit that it was easier to lean on the lyrics in his songs as they spoke to my current situation and that it was important to appreciate him as an artist and not fixate on him as a person. It can be hard at times to be so honest with yourself, but when a behavior is unhealthy, you have to do something different and not just continue to do that thing that you KNOW is not working for you. Most of the time, hearing yourself admit you have gone too far, can be a lot less embarrassing and traumatizing then having to be told you're doing too much or have to be asked to back off.
3)Pick out the reasons you over indulge and shift the energy to something productive. We are drawn to certain things for reasons that can be very positive and healthy if we allow them to be. My attraction was steeped in John's gentleness, an image of masculinity with a tenderness and kind of softness that i like; his creative genius and passion for his craft, and what seemed to be someone that is quietly confident. These are qualities that I like in a person romantically and I had to connect that THIS was somewhat the source of my over indulgence. This kind of emotional work can be hard to do at first, but once you push yourself to work through these kind of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, you can then shift the energy. When the awareness of the over indulgence is accepted, you can then shift it to a place that is productive and useful. I used those qualities I just listed to make a list of qualities I admired in my recent ex in order to bring about good energy to the end of our relationship as well as to remind myself of things I liked about my ex and things that I will seek in a mate. This is a gift you can give yourself-a way to interact with your obsession and turn it into something you can balance and move through proudly making it no longer an obsession!
I used the example of this summer with John Legend, because it was silly and so very unexpected but also because it was such a parallel to other ways obsession has affected my life. In dating, relationships, processing with friends, hanging out or many things that I like to do, I found that I had to work to maintain balance and really honor myself and others by doing the work to balance my interactions and my behavior's in a healthy way. I encourage you to form the kind of relationship to yourself where you are familiar with your quirks, character flaws, so that you can shift and manage your behavior in more productive ways that honor who you are without taking things out f balance on either side. Over correction tends to produce immediate results without much long term stability; while non-admittance tends to lead to the other side of unhealthy with no correction or awareness of an out of balance behavior. So tap into your truth and while you're at it, laugh at yourself a little! Be gentle with yourself and process through your feelings and thoughts in order to heal not to scold yourself. Love yourself enough to tell yourself the truth. Even when its a crush on John Legend!