Do I like him? This question isn’t so obvious as we grow older and become cautious of our feelings. You’re not 14 anymore, so you’ve probably learned by now that just because you feel butterflies around a certain somebody, doesn’t mean you should jump in feet first, opening your world up to his, just because you find his Tom Ford Noir Extreme cologne irresistible.
The scent of seductive masculinity aside, it’s often hard to decode your feelings for someone. Where are these emotions coming from, and can they be trusted? Here’s how to mindfully navigate your feelings for a guy.
1. Consider your feelings, but don’t curb them.
The key to getting to the truth of your feelings is to acknowledge them. Take yourself seriously. Curbing your feelings can be dangerous because not only are you ignoring potential important cues, but when you no longer have the self control to suppress them, they can backfire and lead to stress and depressive thoughts.
2. Know yourself.
Being aware of your tendencies is important when it comes to trusting your feelings. Do you often find yourself susceptible to being excessively sensitive? If you think you may be emotionally fragile, try working on your coping skills. Sharpening your emotional skillset can include developing a personal mantra, keeping a journal, practicing mindfulness meditation, or talking with a professional.
3. Develop a rule of thumb.
This can help you make sound decisions. A good rule of thumb is to not make big decisions in an unstable environment. You may be in an unstable environment if you’ve recently gotten out of a serious relationship or moved to a new city. Major life changes tend to throw off our instincts, making it harder to rely on the validity of our feelings.
Psychology Today explains how our interactions with others develops how we feel. When we live with others in a stable environment, the interactions we have leave traces that are either negative or positive. When our stable environment changes, our minds have no way to gauge these traces, and the footprint of how we should feel becomes unreliable. We must spend time in new environments to develop reliable feelings. Spend time in a new city to get your bearings. If you’ve recently become single, spend time in this new place before jumping into something new.
4. Use mindfulness as a map.
Mindfulness makes us human. It helps us understand our experiences as individuals and steers us down a reliable path that’s more likely to sidestep painful experiences. Mindfulness research has developed a model to help us develop credible thinking. This model includes intention, focused attention, and attitudes.
Intention allows us to be deliberate about where we place our attention to be focused, open, and receptive.
Focused attention allows us to redirect our negative thinking. For example, thoughts such as “nobody would want to date a failure like me,” can be reprogramed by bringing attention to an object of awareness such a slow breathing. Focused attention deters negative harmful thinking before it infiltrates our minds and our decision making.
Attitudes help us face difficulty with confidence instead of avoiding what seems hard or unpleasant.
So, do you like him? The better question might be, should you? If you’re in a stable place, know yourself, and trust the validity of your feelings, then it is likely safe to open yourself up to someone new. If not, then don’t fret. Spend some time in your new environment. Work on yourself and your thought processes. Being aware that you can’t always believe everything you feel is the first step to building trust with yourself, and its an excellent safeguard against bad experiences.
The phrase “Yu Yi” in Mandarin Chinese means the desire to feel intensely again. To see with fresh eyes and to feel as powerfully as you did when you were young, before expectations, before memory, before words. Work on yourself and let your mindfulness map take you here, where you can easily decide to love again with a confident resolve.