You’ll Keep Missing Red Flags Until You’re Able To Identify Green Ones.
It’s hard to spot red flags when you think you’re in love.
Have you ever had directions explained to you something like this? “if you see the big pink building, then you know you’re going the right way.”
The person providing the direction just wants to make sure you stay on track. They use markers; like identifying a building to do this. It’s also helpful to have markers when dealing with relationships.
Red flags are a type of marker that helps us spot negative behavior. They cause feelings of danger or unease. They can also happen as a result of manipulation or control.
Green flags are a type of marker that helps us spot positive behaviors. They also help to identify traits we want to see more of in ourselves.
We still miss red flags, no matter how much we’re taught to spot them. Red flags can feel safe, comfortable, and familiar.
Being able to identify red flags is not enough in relationships.
It’s hard to spot red flags when you think you’re in love.
Red flags tell us to stop or proceed with caution. We need a signal that tells us, “move forward”.
Move Towards Green Flags
It’s best to identify red flags or negative behavior traits. It’s even better to look at them from a distance, it’s best to surround yourself with green flag people, who have positive behavior traits.
This year I felt like I was starting to lose faith in men and it scared me. I was holding on by a thread; trying not to cross over into bitterness and resentment.
After having a candid conversation with my male friend whose character I admire I realized that I kept focusing on the percentage of men in my life who talk negatively about women, are not stepping up to the plate, or immature about dealing with emotions.
I was so focused on pitying myself that I couldn’t see anything else.
If you’re a woman struggling to cultivate healthy relationships find more men that inspire you, even if it’s 1%. If you don’t have 1% then you’ve found part of the problem.
It’s not that there aren’t good men, it’s that you don’t have enough examples of them in your life.
You miss red flags when you think they are loud and blatant. Red flags can be subtle and infrequent.
You think of a red flag person as this burglar in a mask, but they are not. They are the people closest to you. They are your parents, siblings, best friends, and lovers. They are people who make you laugh, they can be helpful, they make you excited.
You might miss red flag people because they aren’t “bad”. We want to paint them as villains, but they are just people who haven’t taken full responsibility for their life, feelings, and actions yet. At some point, you have been or may still be a red flag person.
I’m not perfect, neither are you, we are all struggling, no one is “good”. It’s just that some people move towards progress, while others stay stagnant. That’s the difference. You choose how you want to grow.
The reason we can’t stop obsessing about our past has less to do with what happened to us, and more to do with the shock of having our trust violated with such indifference.
I know it hurts like hell, but what if you focused on the life you want? Move towards green flags.
What Do Green Flags Look Like?
Safe people are made up of sugar and spice and green flags.
Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend outline traits of these individuals in their book, “Safe People: How to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren’t”.
1. Safe people act on empathy.
Safe people care about you and your wellbeing. They’re interested in your feelings.
You can know a person’s intentions by asking “are they using this relationship to benefit their needs only?”
A relationship is based on mutual benefit. Naturally, we are more inclined to one or the other. You shouldn’t feel a constant emotional drain from your partner. Your partner should be able to listen to your wants and needs without making it all about them. You should seek to find people who attempt to understand you.
When empathy is lacking you’re not able to trust the person with your feelings. You grow apart because it’s unsafe to be vulnerable with them.
2. Safe people confront us instead of trying to flatter us.
Safe people care about your feelings, but they aren’t all about feeling good, trusting, helping, or sharing. They’re about justice and truth.
Being confronted with your character is never easy. It may cause some self-reflection. It’s difficult to see your faults, but it produces growth. Peaceful confrontations help us to identify blind spots and prevent hidden destructive behaviors from going unchecked.
Confronters take the risk of possibly ending the relationship to tell you the truth about yourself. They are concerned with your overall success rather than your feelings in the moment.
People who stroke your ego, want you to be happy, probably for their agenda, or to avoid their discomfort.
Safe people may come off as blunt, but once you soothe your ego, you will see their words were meant in good intention.
3. Safe people remain stable and consistent over time. They are reliable with their words.
Safe people follow through with their commitments. They are careful and particular about the words they say, this makes them less likely to commit to people. They evaluate their time and whether or not they can truly help you.
Some people think stable people are cold, stingy, or aloof, but what they’re doing is guarding your trust. They value their word, they don’t want to make promises they can’t keep. They are stable and dependable in their emotional commitments.
4. Safe people have a positive impact on us. They encourage us to be better.
Safe people bring out the best in you. You should feel positive feelings around safe people.
An unsafe person may make you feel comfortable- yet they wound you emotionally. This is what it looks like, you meet a handsome, charismatic man. He is funny, everyone seemingly loves him, however, his jokes are at your expense. He makes jabs at your insecurities in exchange for the spotlight. You may feel comfortable around him, as he eludes an air of security, but he leaves you emotionally wounded.
He is an unsafe person.
Resist The Urge To Doubt Yourself
It can be difficult to identify unsafe people when you’re learning or think you’re in love.
Unsafe people may use gaslighting, which is a form of psychological manipulation where they sow seeds of doubt in your mind. They make you question your memory, sanity, perception, and judgment.
They do this by claiming you didn’t see what you thought, (the messages on their phone.) Claiming they didn’t say what you thought you heard (they call you a bitch, but deny it).
Trust your intuition. You’re not crazy. I know you’re facing doubt, but there is also a nagging at the back of your mind telling you that you’re right.
It takes practice to recognize unsafe people while moving towards those that are safe. Grant yourself the gift of compassion with the same love you would supply to a friend. You’re learning something new. It’s not going to happen overnight but you’re on the right track.
You’ll keep missing red flags until you’re able to identify green ones.
Red flags help you to identify negative behavior traits that tell you to stop or proceed with caution when meeting people. It’s difficult to see red flags when you think you’re in love. You should look for green flags or positive behavior traits before moving forward.
Some traits of green flag or safe people are empathy, they elicit a positive impact on your life, they are consistent in their words and actions, and don’t try to flatter you but speak the truth.
Red flag people may try to make you doubt yourself about their intentions.
Listen to your intuition. It takes practice, time, and compassion to get all the good things you deserve. Keep going