Hello my beautiful humans...
I am back.
This whole consistent writing schedule isn't really working out well for me, is it? And it doesn't help that I seem to be in a different state each week.. But hey, it's my yes year! Yolo.
But seriously, I did have an itch to write because it does calm my mind and it's an excellent way for me to escape and stop scrolling social media + wondering why Instagram seems to be going down the drain. *The damn algorithm*
A couple days ago, I asked my friends on social media (the irony) to shoot me some ideas of what they would want me to dig into and I got some great feedback.
Fun travel stories.
Those all sound *lovely* but I had to pay attention to the topic that kept coming up the most...
And by relationships, I don't mean the goo-goo ga ga, heart eyes, happy stuff. I mean the nitty gritty. Y'all really are tryin' to make me get to work, eh?
Here's what came up multiple times that 1) got me interested 2) gave me a small wave of anxiety.
1) How to spot a red flag in a relationship?
2) What are the signs of a toxic relationship?
3) Trusting your gut and what that looks like?
Well goodness gracious, it looks like I am getting in my feels tonight! Yeehaw.
But you know what? I would rather share my experiences and help someone else, versus bottling it all up, trying to seem perfect and pretending that these problems don't exist for every single human being on earth.
We are HUMANS.
And for those who think I overshare? Well that is okay. Because someone else might NOT think that. For them, my words might help them find just a smidge of comfort in this wild world, and that's enough for me to keep on sharing.
So here we go folks, I don't have a game plan for this one. I am going to let me typin' little fingers do what they want and let's see where it goes as I watch Shark Tank re runs. Fun!
Trust Your Gut, Girl.
(& run from red flags)
Let me start by saying, I wish more than anything I could have read a blog post from a friendly, blonde influencer (named Morgan) about 5 years ago detailing what it means to TRUST YOUR GUT. Because, as a people pleaser, I really, really, really struggle with trusting my own intuition. Instead, I often times find myself so incredibly focused on pleasing others in order to "keep the peace" and be well liked.
If you are reading this and relate to that in any sort of way... Here is some tough love. The more your people please, the more you lose yourself. And the more you lose yourself, the harder it is to understand what it's like to actually trust your gut.
It's okay to be selfish.
It's okay to put yourself and your feelings first.
In my past relationship, I ignored 'my gut' so many times. My intuition was SCREAMING at me to wake up, to do something, to stop pretending like everything was okay. And I did nothing. With every DM, with every new "rumor" or accusation that was blown off by a shrug and a laugh in my face... My gut was telling me that there was no happy ending to this situation. I knew in my heart of hearts that this wasn't how any relationship should be, but I was so incredibly "in love" and so desperate to be "enough" to make someone change... that I ignored every single gut feeling I had.
And you know where that got me?
Loss of identity.
WOW SO FUN, right?
All of this could have been avoided if I had just listened to that little feeling that was in the pit of my stomach. That little internal alarm that went off everytime something questionable happened. That feeling of just... knowing?
"Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn't figured out yet."
I love this quote.
But man, life would be so incredibly boring if we were all perfect humans who didn't make mistakes and weren't stubborn and were totally in tune with all our emotions! I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and you go through all the utter bullshit to come out on the other side with so much more knowledge that you would have never gained unless you went through those tough times.
And full transparency... I am not perfect. And I probably will ignore my gut at some point in the future and have to go back and re-read this blog post and be like "ohhhhhh shit, girl" - but for now, I am feelin' wise. Here are my top tips on HOW TO TRUST YOUR GUT. I truly hope this helps you find some clarity if you're going through any type of sticky situation.
1. Pay attention to your FIRST thought, before your brain has a chance to overthink.
When something happens, whether in a relationship or at work or anywhere for that matter, be mindful of your VERY first reaction. If you are an overthinker like me, you will quickly begin to overthink and your mind will go a zillion miles per hour creating various "what if" scenarios and before you know it... you are absolutely lost going, "Wait, I don't even know how I feel anymore?"
Be mindful of that first initial thought... Shoot, write it down if you need to... because that's most likely your gut instinct trying to tell you what to do. Lord, the amount of times my gut said "F this Morgan, you know this is all true and you deserve better" and my brain said "But! But! But! Think about all this junk and it's probably not that bad and maybe you are being over dramatic, blah, blah, blah"
Pay attention to your first thought. It's usually correct.
2. Follow the 24 hour rule.
This is a little follow up to the first tip above, but it's something I try to do with every situation (not saying I am GOOD at this, folks.. but I try). If you are dealing with any situation where you're trying to trust your gut and decipher emotions... wait 24 hours before you react. I am a very emotional person and I have found when I immediately respond, my thoughts are all over the place and I cannot articulate how I really feel. Instead, I talk in circles and end up even more frustrated that I initially was.
So... give it a full 24 hours. Think it through, journal it out if you need to and then the following day, decide what you want to do. If you are still feeling that initial feeling you had, that's your gut speaking to ya.
3. You don't need a million different opinions.
YOOOOO I am the worst about this. I will always call my mom, my dad, my sister, my friends, my therapist... literally EVERYONE... when something big happens in my life. And the majority of the time, I don't even want their opinions?! I just want someone to listen to me speak. Anyone else like that? Lord help us all.
Yes, it's wonderful to talk things through with your people and vent, but I have found (and this is something I have really had to work on in therapy) that you don't need the opinions of others to make your OWN decision. In fact, when you have so many people telling you different things... it's 10x harder to listen to your gut with all the noise and various opinions.
If you're a fellow 'talk-er out-er' like I am... try just going to one or two people. Or simply use your therapist! You don't need the whole damn pep squad telling you what to do.
4. Don't ignore the evidence.
If it's in front of your face, you cannot ignore it. Plain and simple. I will never forget when I was telling some of my friends about the uh.. wrongdoings... in my past relationships, my bff Ali looked me square in the eyes and said "Where there is smoke, there is fire."
And I never forgot that one sentence.
PAY ATTENTION. If there's evidence for anything - trust your gut and believe it.
P.S: I promise you no one is taking the time to photoshop DMs coming from your mans, LOL.
5. Feel the "feeling" and stick to your guns.
I don't know about you, but I really can feel "it" in my gut. That intuition. That gut feeling. It's a real physical feeling (or at least it is for me). It's like a small weight, or a little twinge or spark that goes off when my body is like "Woah, somethings up"
That little feeling isn't a coincidence. It isn't just a wave of anxiety. It isn't heartburn from your late night Taco Bell (omg ew) - IT IS REAL AND IT'S YOUR GUT TELLING YOU SOMETHING. So listen, don't ignore and stick to your guns. No one knows you... better than you.
WOWWWW that was strangely therapeutic to write. I can't wait to tell my therapist about this one. I wonder if she ever reads my blogs posts?
(If so... Hi, Carly)
Anyhoo, while I am here, I also wanted to touch on the topic of the red flags because I feel like that goes along nicely with the whole trusting your gut thing.
Don't lie.. you know you have ignored red flags before! We all have. Whether it's in a relationship, a friendship, with a coworker... it's wild out in these red flag streets, okay.
My goal for 2023 = green flags only. If it ain't green, I DON'T WANT IT! So, for those who have ever asked me what are the red flags I spotted in past relationships, or how to deal with a narcissist (hint: leave) or shoot, how to gain back some of your confidence... This is for you.
(And honestly for me as I hop back into the dating scene)
MY TOP RELATIONSHIP RED FLAGS
1. They describe ALL their past exes as "crazy"
It's one thing to have a one rotten egg ex that we aren't a fan of. It's another thing to have a long list of exes who are all "crazy" - It's likely the exes aren't the problem...they are.
2. They love-bomb you in the beginning or move very quickly.
- lavish (someone) with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.
3. They avoid talking about hard subjects.
This was my biggest mistake when dealing with past relationships and something I will never ignore again. Hard conversations need to happen in order to have a healthy relationship and gain trust. If your partner doesn't want to talk about things because they're "busy" or they don't see these topics as important... red freaking flag.
4. They're rude or disrespectful to your family and friends.
I don't care if they treat you like an angel.. if they're disrespectful to your closest people, that's basically the same thing as being disrespectful to you.
5. They don't have clear boundaries and don't like boundaries placed on them.
I will never forget my therapist telling me something along these lines... "If someone throws a fit because you set boundaries, it's just more evidence that a boundary is needed"
6. It's not a two way street & you are always accommodating their needs.
There is no reason you should always be driving to them, staying at their place, seeing their family, etc. A relationship is a balance between two people. You may feel "special" because it seems like they want you around more... but don't be fooled.
7. Their phone is always hidden and alerts are silenced or muted.
Look, I don't think it's healthy to go through someone's phone without asking. Period. But I do think there is no reason for a phone to be face down all the time, always locked or all notifications to be silenced so you can't see who is messaging them, etc.
Whatcha hiding there, huh?
8. There's no "label" or clear definition of what the relationship is.
I firmly believe there should be a conversation about what the relationship is. Casual? Committed? You deserve the clarification so you can set clear boundaries. Saying this from experience.
Also, a big GREEN FLAG is when you are verbally asked to be a boyfriend/girlfriend. Call me old school... but I think it's important.
9. They follow mainly models / the opposite sex on social media.
What happened to the days when people just followed their friends and family on social media? LOL.
This one may be slightly controversial but if they're ONLY following scantily clad women (or men)... red flag? If they're always liking their photos but it's a struggle. for them to acknowledge you're presence online, big red flag. If it bothers you and they blow it off or make you feel crazy... biggest red flag.
I feel silly even writing this because like, social media is SILLY when you think about it. But hey, we are living in the age where technology basically rules everything so... it is what it is.
10. There's a past history of cheating.
It's one thing to cheat, make the mistake, feel remorse, learn from it and not do it again. That's forgivable and part of being human (this is not me saying cheating is right or okay, though).
It's another thing to have a past full of cheating. Red. Freaking. Flag.
A zebra doesn't change its' stripes, y'all.
11. They always laugh or make jokes at your expense.
Jokes are fine when the time is right. But if you're always the butt of the joke... no.
12. Lack of consistency.
Cue Katy Perry's "Hot n' Cold"
If you are always dealing with hot and cold, high and lows... that's not healthy and it's absolutely not fair. You deserve a steady, consistent love. It doesn't have to be a roller coaster of emotions at all times, I promise.
13. You're scared to bring up a topic because you don't know how they will react.
My hands used to shake and my heart would race any time I had to bring up something that would "rock the boat." I would be so nervous about the response I would have to deal with (or lack of response for that matter) that I would end up brushing everything under the rug just so I didn't have to face the unpleasant or hurtful reaction.
That. Is. Not. Healthy.
That. Is. A. Red. Flag.
You should be able to bring up anything you want with ease and if you are not met with understanding and open ears... time to reevaluate.
14. Gaslighting in any form.
It took me awhile to fully understand what gaslighting is and be able to notice when it's happening but man, now I am AWARE. For those who don't really know what it is and why it's problematic in any type of relationship...
Gaslighting is "psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one's emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator."
Heavy shit, I know. But essentially if you ever bring up something and you are made to feel crazy, a liar or stupid because of simply saying how you feel... that's gaslighting and simply not okay.
15. They frown upon therapy.
Not saying everyone needs to be in therapy (cough, they do, cough) because that's a personal choice. But if someone makes fun of therapy or blatantly thinks they don't need it and will never be open to it... RUN FOR THE HILLS, BABY.
Again... just my humble opinion ;)
Gosh, I could go on and type probably 100 more, but I think I will stop at my first 15 because my fingers are cramping up LOL. I asked you all on my Instagram to share some of YOUR personal red flags and I am excited to go through and read some of them and see if any of yours match mine!
Moral of the story... educate yourself.
Know your worth.
Accept nothing less.
I think that's all for this blog post, y'all. I truly hope my words resonate with you in some way. Like I always say, we are better together. The more you share, the more you help other people feel like they aren't alone.
Life is a crazy learning experience and we're all going to make and mistakes, but hey - at least we can do our best to not make those mistakes in the future.
Thanks so much for reading and I promise next post, the topic will be a little happier and a little more travel focused (I got to Spain this week, weeeee!!!)
Until next time...