Did I like you or lust you?
We’ve all been there. You meet someone and feel there’s a genuine connection. You vibe with them; your energies mix creating a blissful aura of peace and harmony. You think this encounter will flourish into partnership because you both like each other. But the universe had a different plan for you. Now you’re left wondering what you could have done to have the outcome you so desperately wanted.
I learned that what we want is not exactly what we need, and what we have, in that moment, is not always reality. Sometimes reality is skewed by the things that we lust and crave. We focus on how that individual is making us feel, not so much who that person truly is. It blinds us from the fact that we may be craving human attention and affection.
I recently found myself in the situation of like versus lust without even realizing it. I was so drawn to the idea that I could be in a relationship, I lost sight of what was important– me.
This past year I have been on a committed journey of self love. Loving myself has been a difficult thing to do but I found that fearlessly setting boundaries and directing my energy on what I really need, and how someone’s actions make me feel, helps me to understand what my best interests are. For the first time I’m asking myself, “what fulfills you.” I am actively practicing self awareness.
As I break free from my own binds of insecurities, I am learning to distinguish what is meant for me and what is not. This is the challenging part, because the old me is always in the shadows trying to seduce me into old patterns of behavior of accepting lust when what I really want is a genuine connection. It’s easy to beat yourself up for even having these thoughts. I know I struggle with it. But I have learned to appreciate that I can catch myself thinking those thoughts, and turn it into self empowerment.
Understanding what is meant for you also means understanding your self-destructive patterns of behavior. Only when I was brave enough to see these destructive tendencies was I able to begin replacing them with healthy behaviors and responses.
For example, I met this guy over the summer. Let’s call him Kyle. Our time together was short lived, but this person was able to teach me so much about myself in a brief period. Kyle and I met via a dating app (not surprising huh) and upon our first encounter I was instantly attracted to him. He was tall, not dark, but definitely handsome. Here’s what my experience with Kyle taught me about myself: I ignore red flags just so I can deter feeling lonely.
I wasn’t aware of this at the very moment. It took me a minute to come back to reality and realize that I was ignoring my own intuition about the red flags. Something didn’t feel right. And when something doesn’t feel right, chances are you are so lost in the sauce that destructive patterns of behavior are clouding your judgment.
I was lost in the sauce. Not one, not two, not three but five red flags I blatantly ignored despite the fact that something didn’t feel right.
The 5 Red Flags
Red flag #1 is something we can all relate to. He started texting and calling me less than usual. Trust me, that is a red flag especially if you and that individual were talking on a regular/daily basis. I found myself overthinking and actually justifying his lack of effort with the good ol’ “Oh he’s probably just busy.” You say to yourself “yeah he’s busy he will get back to me,” only to go on Snapchat and realize he is blatantly ignoring you. People make time for what is important to them, period.
Red flag #2: I saw him using a dating app and my initial reaction was confusion, then of course a justification for him “We are not officially dating, he does not belong to me, he can be on a dating app, I am okay with that.” Truth is, I was not okay with that! Even though it ate at me, I remained silent and did not bring it up immediately. After evaluating my feelings about whether or not I had the right to feel this way, I mustered up the courage to talk to him about it. His gave me a lame ass excuse that I naively believed.
Looking back, I can’t believe I actually questioned whether or not I had the right to feel. I had a right, and so do you. The right person respects your feelings and can meet you with clear, honest communication.
Red flag #3: I deadass asked this man to take me on a date and his response was “I will let you know.” If you could see my sour facial expression as I am writing this! First of all, someone who is with it would have responded with “When is your next day off we will do something then.” Actually no. Scratch that. I wouldn’t have to ask someone who was actually with it. He would’ve just done it from the get go. Period.
Red flag #4: He stood me up. You’re probably thinking “Sis, he stood you up after you told him to take you on a date, sheesh.” Yes he did and I am not even upset about it.. Ok, well I am a little bit. I am more upset about how I once again defied my intuition.
You see, the day of our date I woke up with a gut feeling that it would fall through. I remember thinking to myself “Jessica dont wait on anybody to take you out, take yourself out, leave without him and do your own thing.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt and I waited. And waited. Then waited some more.
I was so disappointed in myself. Disappointed that I did not listen to the intense feeling my body was giving me to just go. I chose him over myself. It is at this very moment that I started to observe the destructive patterns of behavior that I was so desperately trying to change. I had to take a step back and reflect on this situationship I was in and how it was blinding me from the reality that this dude made me feel like shit.
Red flag #5: He used substances regularly. He posts himself drinking daily, he is open about popping pills every so often, probably more than he led on. He text me while he was drugs. This is such toxic behavior and a clear indicator that this guy is suffering internally. If he can’t cope with his own feelings without numbing it, then how is he supposed to cope with mine?
What I Learned
I took this time to self reflect. I thoughtfully analyzed all the red flags I tried to ignore because I was too occupied lusting over him. Red flag number 1 made me realize that he was most definitely ignoring me which made me come to the conclusion that communication is a two way street and all I could do is reciprocate the same amount of effort he was giving me.
Red flag number 2 was difficult for me to dissect because I was torn between feeling like I could or could not express myself based off of the fact that we did not belong to each other. This made me understand that you don’t have to belong to someone to vocalize how you feel. Setting boundaries means doing just that vocalizing what you will and will not allow from a potential partner, friendship, acquaintance, parent, etc.
Red flag number 3: what in the actual fuck was I thinking?! I had to actually ask a man to take me on a date, wow. Nobody should have to ask someone to spend time with them, and if you do, homie is just not into you. I knew I deserved someone who wanted to spend time with me without me having to ask. Period.
Red flag number 4 was eye opening because it showed me that I still had a lot of learning to do. How could I possibly choose someone I barely knew over myself?
Red flag number 5 was a no brainer. I know better than to try and fix someone. Other people’s issues are not my problem to fix.
This experience with Kyle was important to me because it forced me to think about my old patterns and how easy it was to ignore myself when lusting over someone. Don’t get me wrong, I had a difficult time differentiating whether or not I actually liked this man or was simply blinded by the lust I felt for him. I told myself I had a genuine connection to him, it was a vibe. I was experiencing emotions that I had not felt in a while. I was wrapped up in a blissful love spell and for a brief moment, I was not being true to myself.
I knew I had to detach from Kyle because I was not ready and in reality, neither was he. Old Jess would have berated herself and blamed herself for a failed attempt at a relationship. She would’ve felt unworthy. The ascending me is accepting what is truly meant for me and graciously letting go of what is not. I took this moment to reflect not on what I lost, but what I gained. I am growing, I am learning, I am unlearning, I am healing, I am receiving, I am reflecting, I am deflecting, I am choosing me. Always.
The universe expanded, the stars aligned. Lady luna remained a balance of dark and light. I had a vision of him shooting for the stars, but now I see it’s me who floats along the milky way.