You find yourself attracted to someone you shouldn’t be.
You have a crush on someone who is married.
You fall in love with someone who lives a million miles away.
Maybe you’ve experienced it before.
Maybe you have friends that have experienced it.
It’s the ‘impossible love’.
How to let this kind of love grow you, not destroy you?
How to transform adoration into a deeper, more timeless, boundless love?
Lately I’ve had several friends confide in me about their ‘impossible love’ heartaches, so I thought I’d share a handful of methods to transform heartache > heart expansion.
In some ways, when we adore someone, it’s like the sun falling in love with the moon. The moon is reflecting the sun’s light back to the sun in a beautiful way. But ultimately, the moon does not possess a certain kind of light that the sun needs; it simply reflects back the light of the sun.
In the same way, you may become infatuated with someone because they reflect back to you certain qualities that you yourself have. If this is the case, you can transform your adoration into admiration, and ultimately a celebration of your own potential.
Reflect on all the things you admire, adore or love about them. What draws you in to this person? If it helps to clarify, write it down. If you find yourself thinking, “I love the way this person does x … “ then ask yourself why. Get to the root of what qualities you adore so much about them.
Then look at yourself – these are likely qualities that YOU have, and want to bring out in yourself MORE. Or they are qualities that you’re just only now wanting to develop more, and to see them expressed fully by another person excites you. This person you adore might represent ways of being that YOU want to embody to a more profound degree.
If you put more effort into magnifying those qualities within you, you may find that the intensity of your crush or adoration relaxes – that the fixation, grasping, attachment and desire (or stickiness) around the adoration dissolve and shake out – leaving pure, unadulterated admiration, and true unconditional love without personal needs or wants.
In realizing that you are deeply appreciating someone’s qualities that you yourself possess, then there is less desire to get close to them. There is no loss and no missed opportunity by not being intimate with them – and therefore no disappointment. In that way you can also feel thoroughly content and appreciative of whatever time you do spend in their presence. This person’s way of being can teach you something as is, without physical intimacy. And your adoration serves as a catalyst to bring out the best in you.
I remember many years ago when one of my teachers explained something to me about feelings. It was so incredibly profound – and almost disappointing in it’s illuminating way – as the translator exchanged Tibetan for English words, “No one can make you feel happy or make you feel sad. Energy passes through a certain channel in your body and you experience joy. Energy passes through a different channel in your body and you feel sadness or disappointment. But all of these feelings are generated by YOU, not another person. No person outside of yourself can make you feel happy. It’s all created within the channels of your own body – it’s all created by you.”
In some ways, the clarity of this was disappointing. I felt all of the Hollywood movies and Disney-conditioned fantasies come crashing down, like some kind of bad joke. Here we are running around searching for ‘the one’ – our other half – to make us feel complete and whole.
On the other hand, this insight can offer tremendous relief. It means that no matter how broken we think we are or feel we are, we don’t need a magical soulmate to make us more than we already are. We’re whole and complete right now – as we are. We don’t need anything outside of ourselves to experience wild joy, profound love and a sense of total interconnectedness with everything around us.
How you feel around the one you adore is created by you, not them – recognizing this helps us not be so fixated and obsessed about them. We can simply be aware of what arises within us, and see it more as a temporary display vs. something that is only catalyzed by this person or only available when in their presence.
Being around this person may trigger some kind of response within you, but it is not inherently that person’s doing – it is being triggered by and within you.
Oftentimes when you have ‘impossible love’, it is filled with the rush of seeing this person … which leads to the desire of wanting to be close to them … which leads to the disappointment and frustration of not being able to be close to them … and this can cycle around and around, as many times as you like. And if the object of your ‘impossible love’ is perceptive, they will likely know how you feel, even if you say nothing.
The important thing to remember is to allow yourself to feel whatever feelings arise. You don’t have to chastise yourself for experiencing the joy of someone’s presence. The key is to be aware of the feelings as they arise – and to transform and expand them, so that they lead to expansion instead of contraction.
Example. Let’s say you have a tremendous crush on someone who’s not available. Or you are not available. Whatever.
Every time you see this person, you get excited. But this is ‘impossible love’, which means that you are not going to ‘get’ anything from it – this love is not going to express itself through physical intimacy.
And we are human. There is this thing that arises calling ‘wanting’ … We want to be close to this person. We want to look at them. We want our eyes to meet. We want intimacy with this person. Sometimes we don’t even know what we want … we just find ourselves wanting …
As a result, our good feelings end up bleeding over into disappointment or being hard on ourselves. Or it leads to an endless waterfall of stupid thoughts and fantasies, which wastes precious time and energy that could be infused into any number of other positive projects (that actually benefit others and make the world a better place).
Or we might feel like shutting ourselves off or shutting down or shutting that person out of our awareness completely. There are times when it may be more beneficial to simply cut off all contact, yes, absolutely. But if you are able to work with your feelings and discipline yourself, you can transform your adoration by expanding it to others, instead of reserving it for just this one person alone.
You can expand the positive power of this joyous, precious love to everyone around you. And you can allow the love and joy of knowing that this person exists in the world fill you up and overflow out of you. Let it fill you up so much that you don’t need anything from them, until thinking of them or seeing them brings you enough joy – that you have no wish to ‘get’ anything from them, (attention, glances, time, whatever).
Practice this simple rejoicing in their existence in the world, until there is no expectation, secret wish, attachment, fixation, grasping or wanting (nor disappointment). Expand your love, so it’s not so laser-focused; fill yourself up with that love + adoration – expand it to everyone you see – fill their bodies up with that love, adoration + warmth.
Anyone you come in contact with, visualize filling them up with this love. This love has no limitations, and is not dependent on getting attention or anything in return. It’s boundless, free and can spread across space in waves and benefit everyone in your presence.
Here’s a song I think you’ll like, especially if you think in terms of this expansive, higher unconditional love:
Here’s to boundless love,
*Cute illustration by Sven Grothe - thank you!
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