trust your gut, not your head

Falling in love with someone is one of the most powerful feelings we can experience as humans.  You know the feeling…everything feels right in the world. You feel happy, at ease, excited, and relaxed. You're literally high on chemicals that your brain is releasing to help you attach to a partner. However, that warm, happy feeling can sometimes blind us to relationship red flags and get us into something that isn’t healthy. How can you tell if your love high is preventing you from seeing the red flags in a partner? 

The truth is, your body ALWAYS knows what your head ignores. The trick is to know what to listen to: your brain and heart that are high on the love drug, or your gut that sometimes whispers a quiet warning of a love that could go wrong.  

Science, baby. 

When we’re falling in love with someone, our brains secrete powerful chemicals that were designed to help us mate and help the human species survive. These chemicals, like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins, are what give us the positive feelings we associate with falling in love.  They significantly influence how we choose and stay with a partner.  If you are with someone you’re attracted to, you may feel physical symptoms like a flushed face, racing heart, and an overall warm feeling… its the “chemistry” feeling. You may spend hours thinking about your new love, fantasizing about how wonderful your life will be together.  

This is your brain working to connect you to another human being. That’s great when its with the right partner. However, this high can be deceiving if it makes us overlook red flags because we are too hooked on the good feelings this new person creates in us. Because of this, it’s important to have a few sober reminders that you are aware of prior to getting high on love, so that you be sure you’re able to see clearly when the rush hits.

Tune in to your body.

Some of us are fairly intuitive and in touch with our gut sense of what’s right and wrong for us (and can still be confused by the physical high of love). Some of us aren’t so in tune with our guts. Regardless, you can build your intuitive muscles with a simple technique. 

Start with doing daily “body checks” and ask yourself if you are making a good decision to stay in a relationship. A body check is a simple technique that involves taking a few minutes to sit quietly. Do some deep breathing, and get centered in your body. Bring to mind your partner, and ask your body if this relationship is right for you. Then listen. 

Do you feel your body expand in confidence, or do you shrink in fear? Do you feel uneasiness anywhere? Notice your gut and heart areas, in particular. They are important energy centers that hold a lot of emotion, especially around relationships. Do they feel tight, tense, or fearful?  Or do they feel settled and trusting? 

Also notice what’s coming up for you when you’re with your partner. Are you feeling yourself pull away? Do you keep having thoughts in your head that something isn’t right? Sometimes the information is subtle, but it is always there if you learn to listen.

If you don’t feel anything clearly at first, keep practicing. When practiced daily, this can help you learn the difference between the feeling of just having a desire for a relationship to be what you want it to be, and the reality of what it is. 

Know your red flags…before you fall in love.

Create a list of deal breakers and red flags when you are NOT in a relationship with someone and keep the list handy. Refer to it when you find yourself falling in love with someone. Sometimes having a written reminder that we created when we weren’t in love can bring you back to reality.  

Ask yourself what you’ve learned from past relationships that must be avoided in the future. What’s important to you? Perhaps you need someone who is highly affectionate and attentive. Maybe its someone who is honest and genuine. Maybe it is someone who is willing to explore a spiritual path with you, so dating a devout atheist wouldn’t be a good mix. Maybe you need someone who values sobriety. Know yourself well…and trust that it is ok to have expectations, rules, and boundaries in a relationship. 

Last but not least, believe in abundance. 

If you have a scarcity mindset in love, you may have beliefs like you’ll never find a good relationship, there are no perfect partners for you, or love only happens to other people. This mindset is a dangerous combination when you feel high on a new relationship. Its easy to ignore the warning signs when you are getting filled up on any kind of love, even if it’s the unhealthy kind. If you meet someone you like, scarcity can tell you that this is as good as it gets, so it’s ok to ignore your red flags. If you have reason for concern, its better to release them and trust that another love will always come around.

You ALWAYS have the answers.

Tune in to your intuition, don’t ignore your intuition, and trust yourself and the reality that there are an infinite number of partners for you in the world. Most people can look back after a breakup and notice the red flags that were present from the beginning, but they were ignored because the rush of love was so strong that it was easy to overlook the reality of a situation. Know your red flags, and trust that they are always worth following.