As a ministry, Pure Heart accompanies about 25 teenage girls in their walk with Christ. We have monthly gatherings to teach them about the Lord, their dignity, and how to live a holy and healthy life.
A few months ago our topic was “How to Move on from Your Crush,” also known as “Emotional Chastity.” Many of the girls have been asking about this topic and are apparently gaga over K-pop celebrities and their personal crushes. We had to provide a safe avenue for them to talk about these things. I confidently volunteered to give the talk, since I could totally relate to the girls. Piece of cake. Or so I thought.
As I went along preparing, I felt stuck and had bouts of analysis paralysis. Why did I volunteer to give this talk? How am I supposed to relay the message to the girls? They need a responsible woman to let them understand how to move on—not someone who was always gaga over all her crushes!
After my talk was critiqued by my fellow servers, I knew I had to reboot my presentation. Aside from digging for resources, I also tried to look back on my own personal experience and integrate it to my talk. While looking back on my past, I slowly realized that God wanted me to give this talk to learn even more about His plan for me. He also kinda emphasized how excluding Him in my life was a source of great confusion, and how coming back to Him helped me understand how to have healthier relationships.
We all have those crushes—childhood crush, celebrity crush, school/office crush, not-my-type crush, this-is-it crush, you name them. I probably had them all. But the problem with infatuating over all these crushes is that: one, it is not rooted in reality (over-the-top dreams); and two, we can be using them for our own benefit (filling an emotional lack, for exciting feelings or kilig, or for distraction). Newsflash: your crush is a real person! Not some fairytale or ideal. We should really examine our feelings to see: am I just using this person to make myself feel better? As St. John Paul II often said, "The opposite of love is not hate, it is use." We love or hate people; we use objects. “A person's rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use" (St. John Paul II, Love and Responsibility). We can easily turn another person into an object that we use to fill our own emotional need. But this is to disrespect the dignity of the other person, and it will never lead me to happiness or authentic love!
Chastity is a virtue that gives us the freedom and mastery over our desires. But what is emotional chastity? It’s about guarding the purity of our hearts and minds, because we are more than just our bodies. We need chastity to truly love others. We can only truly love a person when we think about the good of the other—not just about our own desires, fantasies, and motives. Attractions are good, and it is very important that we direct our attractions toward authentic love.
I wish I knew about emotional chastity when I was younger! It could have saved me a lot of tears and trouble! My heart was restless, and I’m blessed it found its way back home to Jesus. I’m happy that our girls got to have this formation, and I pray that they can do better than I did and avoid all the unnecessary heartache.
Written by Audrey Abatol. Audrey is the current head servant of Pure Heart Philippines. She has been involved with Pure Heart since 2017, and has been serving the youth since 2012.