5 Red Flags of Like Versus Lust: How I Learned the Difference

5 Red Flags of Like Versus Lust: How I Learned the Difference

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.

The Situation

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.

Recommended crystals:

Black Kyanite

Hematite

Smoky Quartz

Loneliness vs. Being Alone: A Fundamental Difference

Loneliness vs. Being Alone: A Fundamental Difference

It’s the weekend. You’re home alone. People are all over social media posting their adventures while you sit home with a silent phone. It’s like you’re the only one not doing a damn thing. Sound familiar?

There are two things you can do in this situation: feel sorry for yourself, or take care of yourself. Contrary to popular belief, scrolling through social media for hours on end is not a hobby, it’s a waste of time. It is great entertainment for a reasonable period of time, but if you find yourself staring and scrolling more than looking into another person’s eyes or being productive you’re treading on thin ice.

Social media does not replace human interaction. That’s why it’s so unfulfilling. In fact, it’s widely known to cause anxiety and depression because people don’t typically post boring nights, or nights they come out of their skin, or sit alone crying.  And if they do, they are judged harshly. We all know it. No one wants to see that shit. So we post happiness and fun. We post inspiring quotes and funny videos. We post our triumphs, not our tribulations. Then the people who are in a slump view all the happiness they are not currently experiencing, a term called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and internalize this as not being good enough.

The truth is, everyone goes through periods of loneliness. It’s necessary in order to grow. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. It’s supposed to be. But the more you try to numb that discomfort with distractions, the more frequent these periods of discomfort become. Distractions come in many forms. Here are a few:

  • Endless scrolling
  • Binge watching an unhealthy amount of TV/ video games
  • Compulsive shopping
  • Drug abuse
  • Drinking
  • Smoking copious amount of weed
  • Texting or calling anyone and everyone just to feel like you’re not alone
  • Eating your feelings
  • Getting involved in other people’s problems
  • Compulsive online dating

Another method of distraction is maintaining friendships that don’t feel right just for the sake of not being alone. These are one-sided relationships where the give and take is so unbalanced you leave the interaction feeling uneasy and more doubtful than if you had just stayed home alone in the first place. Or you leave annoyed, angry, and upset.

One thing I have learned is that if you allow people to take their issues out on you, they will. Excuses about unhealthy family dynamics are only viable during childhood. There comes a point when you are responsible for your healing, for setting boundaries with friends and family, and taking control of your life. You can’t change someone. What you can change is the amount of time you spend with that person.

Getting involved in other people’s problems is another common distraction. When we focus on what someone else is doing, or not doing, it shifts the focus off of what we’re capable of controlling. The person might be in a situation that seems awful to us, but each person has their own bullshit tolerance level. What is intolerable to you, is tolerant to them, at least at the moment. Everyone has different life experiences and paths they must follow in order to grow. And if they want to complain every now and then, that’s ok. We all do it. But going around in circles and constantly complaining day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, without any solutions is toxic behavior.

In the popular psychology book Games People Play, author Eric Bernie names this social transaction Why Don’t You—Yes But. It’s a self- victimizing strategy where “the purpose of the game is not to get suggestions, but to reject them.” We’ve all been on one side of this game at one time or another. A person aires their grievances while another wracks their brain thinking of solutions only to be met with an excuse for each suggestion. When the person offering solutions gets tired and can’t think of anything else, the complainer feels justified in his or her victimization and thus their “whoa is me” demeanor is reinforced. To the people offering suggestions, the WDYYB game is emotionally draining and unpleasant to be around.

Sometimes people vent and don’t want a solution; they just want to be heard. This is why offering unsolicited advice is frowned upon. When you do, you could be unintentionally playing into a victimizing game or participating in codependent behavior. To obsess over other people’s problems is to avoid dealing with your own. Be mindful of how much energy you’re putting out for issues that aren’t your problem.

The goal is to stop the distractions altogether. This is super hard with entertainment right at our fingertips. The minute we feel uncomfortable with our own thoughts we reach for our phones to give us a distraction, any distraction, to take our mind off of the fact we can’t be left alone with ourselves. Stopping distractions in its tracks takes a great deal of awareness and mindfulness. And the only place to start is at the beginning.

Next time you’re alone and uncomfortable, keep track of how long you can sit without searching for a distraction. Look at the time. How many minutes went by? When we practice awareness it helps train the brain to recognize self defeating behaviors. This time alone shouldn’t be lonely, but at first it will feel that way. Once you’re able to accept there’s a distraction issue, you’ll be able to turn loneliness into empowering moments of self fulfillment.

You don’t have to be bored and lonely when you’re alone. Actually, looking to others to entertain you is pretty unhealthy. No one is here for your amusement and you’re not here for theirs. Think of ways you can entertain yourself without distractions.

What are some things you like to do or have always wanted to do? There is nothing stopping you from doing those things yourself, or joining a group that shares similar interests. You may be thinking, “But you just said to be alone.” And you’re right, I did. Alone doesn’t mean you can’t be in groups. Some people are extroverted and love to be around people. What’s important is that you’re around the right people.

Others are introverted and enjoy being alone. For instance, I am an introvert. When I’m alone, I like to go on hikes. I play the guitar. I listen to foreign language lessons. I read books; I write. I meditate; I listen to music. I read tarot. I’ll even take myself out to eat or to the movies.

Being alone means you are taking care of you in a healthy way without participating in unhealthy distractions. Being alone means you are engaging in activities that make you happy.

Alone time is so beneficial for self exploration. It doesn’t have to be isolating and lonely. But it certainly can go there real quick when we engage in distracting behaviors instead of sitting with the feeling in order to change the course to a healthier route. We can’t find ourselves in other people. That’s just not how it works.

So the next time you feel yourself cringing at the thought of being alone, I challenge you to sit with uncomfortableness. What can you find out about yourself? And how can you change the narrative to create a more fulfilling you?

Recommended crystals: 

Hematite

Lepidolite

Black Kyanite

Codependency and the Power of Saying No

Codependency and the Power of Saying No

Have you ever caught yourself stuck in a situation you didn’t want to be in? You defied that intuitive feeling that told you “nah sis, I don’t want to do this,” yet there you are trying your best not to think about an escape plan while engaging in an uninteresting (and unimportant) conversation. Or thinking about how you could’ve saved your coins had you just said no! If you are anything like me, a natural nurturer and giver, saying no is innately a difficult thing to do. I learned a while ago that when I am asked to do something I don’t necessarily want to do, I’m inclined to say yes despite the fact that my intuition and my body are screaming “NO” at the top of their lungs. Why is it so hard to say no?

Boundaries, that is why. Repeat after me, boundaries. Uncovering what your boundaries are means understanding exactly what it is you want. Often times I worry about offending someone and neglect the physical and mental reaction that my body is giving me. Disregarding my own feelings makes me more disappointed in myself when I end up in a situation that I know I should not be in. In the situation I’m constantly wondering why I’m there, wishing I was in my bed instead. This is where self awareness takes place. Why is that I put others before myself? Why do I consider the other person’s wants and needs quicker than my own? Why am I willing to inconvenience myself for someone else? 

My problem with saying no and lack of boundaries begins with my inability to say no to the most important people in my life: my family. Building the courage to say no to them was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. I was torn between feeling guilt, and fearful of what the outcome would be. It was when I realized my self doubt, self hatred, and lack of confidence came from their verbal abuse. Their doubt and negativity was a drug, and I was succumbing to it in every way. I was drowning in their fears and I knew it was time to say no when I started living in them. Their doubt in my capabilities made me question every aspect of my life. I began questioning myself more than ever and thus came the dreadful insecurities that I am still fighting off today. So, how do you say no to family? 

Truth is you don’t. What you do is model and only allow behavior that you deserve. This may take some time, especially if you’ve developed an unhealthy idea of how you should be treated. Knowing and understanding your boundaries means you have to discover and explore what it is that brings you peace. That does not mean agreeing to something you don’t agree with in order to maintain that peace. That is a prime example of not loving yourself. You are choosing someone else’s comfortability over your own. Modeling and only allowing behavior you know you deserve can be difficult. If you are anything like me, stubborn and ready to vocalize herself, it takes a lot of willpower to not engage in argumentative dialogue with people who refuse to understand you.

What I learned was to express myself as directly and precise as I could. While I was ready to express and vocalize my emotions, I learned that not everyone has the same capacity. There were many moments where I felt defeated and hopeless. My family was not willing to understand the pain they were causing me.

Eventually, I walked away from anything and anyone who was unwilling to meet me halfway. I walked away from people who were not willing to be self aware and accountable for themselves, even family. More importantly, I recognized that I won’t always get the apology I know I deserve. I have learned to be okay with that. Their actions and lack of effort to better understand my emotions is loud enough.

What people’s reaction may be when you say no is not for you to control. Worry about how you are at risk of losing yourself if you don’t say no. Codependency has the potential to make you want to give more than you should. Do not let lack of boundaries be the reason you cannot trust yourself and your intuition. Do not let codependency keep you from eliminating people who drain your energy while making you feel responsible for theirs. Prioritizing yourself. Set those boundaries fearlessly. It will teach people how to treat you. Trust me, once you acknowledge your emotions it empowers you to be in control and aware of yourself. 

Conquering the fear of saying no to family, acquaintances, friends, and relationships does indeed get easier. I’m not saying this will always be easy. What I mean is that eventually it will be second nature to choose yourself over anyone else.

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned about myself in my journey of saying no is knowing when I need to say no to myself. No, I will no longer allow family to get me out of my character. No, I will not allow half assed apologies without changed behavior. No, I am not responsible for someone else’s feelings. No, I do not have time for individuals who are not reciprocating the same effort and energy I give.

One more thing: Always remember you are deserving of the love you put out. So why not give it to yourself?

Recommended crystals:

Rose Quartz

Lapis Lazuli 

Blue Kyanite