There’s so much advice, and when you’ve been the unfortunate victim of abuse or a romance-gone-bad, you can find a sense of safety by looking for red flags. Beware that you might fall victim to red flag obsession.
And if you aren’t able to come up with enough red flags, you can find all the red flags you could possibly imagine everywhere from newsstands and books to the over-anxious depths of the worldwide web.
When you start looking for red flags, out of fear, your fear will begin to see everything as a potential red flag. The same red flags which you embraced as a means to protect yourself can actually promote your own deterioration or destruction.
If you’re frightened, broken, or suffering from a broken heart, you probably shouldn’t be looking to put yourself at risk. You should avoid putting yourself in situations that could potentially be risky so that you don’t have to use red flags to help keep you safe.
If you look for demons you will find them everywhere.
If you are looking for red flags, you’re bound to potentially find them everywhere you look, keeping yourself in a perpetual state of panic. Not only will you find this exhausting, but the stress that comes from this will cause your immune system to fail, and this will cause your social network to break down.
It will be difficult for someone obsessively looking for red flags to trust others, it also engenders a feeling in others who may feel the negative energy of your troubled perspective to trust you, especially, if you’ve announced your propensity to be looking for red flags.
People don’t like to be judged unjustly and will think they are under your unrelenting microscopic examination. Few people would sign-up for such an interrogative approach to demonization and may find ways to avoid you and your red flag obsession.
And if you’re so inclined, you will probably assume that this person was guilty when they found a way to avoid further interaction with you.
Red flag obsession is a lonely business where you assume the role of the only righteous judge who is constantly judging all who access your social court and is akin to narcissism. You’re better than that.
Not all people are bad people. In fact, few of them are. There are far more good people in the world than predatory ones. But if you are looking for red flags, you will be able to take a small detail, and using your fear-fueled imagination, you can assume this is a potentially dangerous person.
Only bad people have to assert how good they are by constantly saying, “I’m a good person.” For the most part, a good person doesn’t need to assert their goodness. The people who have known this person for an extensive amount of time will know how “good” they are by witnessing their integrity over time.
A truly good person does not have to convince anyone of their goodness and they may feel it unreasonable, or at least awkward, having to prove their goodness or worthiness to anyone.
Rather than looking for the evil red flags, a healthier, wiser person might otherwise be looking for the good in others. And it’s not just enough to query them in a question and answer format-like interview.
Take your time and observe them over time. Don’t jump right in and put yourself at risk, though moving any relationship to a deeper level will have risk associated with it. The best and closest relationships involve a degree of vulnerability or risk.
Continue to be cautious, but not so cautious that it makes you paranoid about being at risk all the time, this is unhealthy red flag obsession.
If you’ve been bitten by the red flag bug, no problem. We all do the best we can with what we have. You don’t owe anyone an apology, you didn’t do anything wrong, but now you can start taking a more positive approach to getting to know others.
You’ll be surprised to find that once you start looking for the best (just like when you were looking for the worst) in others, you will find beauty and goodness everywhere you look. And you won’t have to worry about being at risk.
Just because you’re looking for the best in others doesn’t make you blind. You will see the inconsistencies in others and you can safely file the information away as you allow their reality to unfold naturally before you.