1) Choose Pleasure
When I first recognized this pattern in myself, I dealt with it by choosing pleasure. In a state of Samsara, you are suffering. And it’s easier to suffer. You could say this is even the default human condition. It takes more work, more refinement to be truly happy. If you are suffering, because things are not the way you want them to be with “insert guy’s name here”, recognize that you are in a state of Samsara and choose something to take pleasure in.
When I began doing this, I started to really enjoy spending time with people in my life other than The Guy. I allowed myself to settle in and really appreciate moments that had nothing to do with him. I relished time with family and friends, found ways to enjoy work, and set goals for myself that I was excited about. During this period where I had great success with this (you will have more success with this at certain times in your life than others depending on your lesson), I remember enjoying museums, shopping, travelling, eating out, dancing, listening to music, and going to the theater–all of it I enjoyed very vividly.
When you choose pleasure and truly embrace it, you notice that it feels so good. You wonder why you would ever choose to wallow in Samsara. But the truth is that choosing happiness and pleasure (even though it feels so good) is a skill that one must learn. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t maintain it at first. Most of us don’t find it easy to do so. Of course there are people that naturally have a happier disposition, but most of us do struggle with this.
When I became fully aware that I created my own suffering by attaching myself to unavailable guys, I was truly horrified. I had been thinking of myself as this strong woman who just happened to be very upset at the state of things with a particular guy. But then I realized
I chose these guys, and I also chose to suffer.
The reason I chose this was because I was afraid to really get close–I was afraid of intimacy. It turns out that women handle a fear of intimacy different from the way men do–and the difference is that women tend to handle it in a way that is NOT FUN for them.
This made me angry. I became angry that this suffering was a choice I had chosen out of fear AND, that I had chosen to handle it by suffering (a choice typical for women). That anger gave me the motivation I needed to CHOOSE PLEASURE instead of suffering and to allow myself to be loved.
I want to point out that you can know this is the right thing to do intellectually and still find it difficult, if you are hung up on a specific unavailable guy. You may have success with this at one point in your life and yet may find it more difficult with another.
Please don’t beat yourself up. Remember that life itself is a meditation, and that you will move in and out of awareness. When you notice yourself drifting away from what is best for you, simply allow yourself to come back.
Also realize that struggling with this challenge can be seen as a sign of growth. It is likely that if you have come to this awareness in the past and are struggling with it again, you may actually be struggling with the same lesson on a higher level. Lessons can come back into your life more than once, but each time be more subtle and more challenging.
Perhaps it is more difficult to detach yourself from a current guy than it was to detach from a previous one. Remember, that the deeper the relationship goes, the harder it can be to resolve this lesson. Each time you do, however, you are become stronger.
The state of Samsara is strongly associated with how our brains work naturally (often to our own detriment). Every relationship, no matter how brief or long will have both positive and negative aspects to it. We are “wired”, however, to overlook the negatives in the beginning stages of a relationship. If the relationship never really gets off the ground or gets past this stage, realize that you only have a taste of the “honeymoon” period. You have absolutely no idea of the negatives that could have been in store, to ground you and protect you from getting too caught up in the fantasy.
On the other hand, if the relationship was long-term and has now ended, it is possible that you will only be able to focus on the positive for a time. You may look back on the relationship with sentimentality and completely forget how angry or upset you felt while you were in the relationship.
Recognize that focusing on the positives and ignoring the negatives is part of how our brains work when we are caught up in a certain state of love or “crush.” The positive aspects you are focusing on are real. Just remind yourself to stay grounded in the truth of reality, the good and the bad.
Sometimes we hold to things/ideas/people that are not good for us because we are afraid. Perhaps there is some payoff?
Being able to protect yourself from getting hurt?
Believing that on some level you don’t deserve happiness?
Let it go.
Allow yourself to be loved.
Recognize the illusion for what it is.