In the beginning stages of a relationship, we need to keep an eye out for “red flags.” We may dismiss them altogether, but they help to warn or caution us. Red flags also help us identify situations that have the potential to harm us, emotionally, mentally or physically.
However, It’s not always easy when we begin to notice these red flags appearing in our relationships …
It’s much easier to rationalize them away. So we continue to ignore or dismiss these warning signs as harmless attributes or situations.
Here are some common red flags that can appear within our relationships:
- Extreme selfishness and narcissistic ideologies
- Angry or threatening responses
- Someone withholding their presence as punishment
- Physical abuse
- Giving up what you want consistently to please the other person
- Lack of trust
… but what if these red flags are an indicator that we have become tolerant of situations or circumstances because we have failed to encounter love itself.
To love others FULLY, we must first understand that our overflow comes from the infilling that we receive from our Father in heaven. If we are struggling to love ourselves, we may have lost the revelation or understanding of His love for us. We can hinder our ability to show love if we have not wholly received it. We will also lack boundaries, self-respect, and settle for toxic relationships if we fail to see our worth and value.
As Christians, this is the perfect example of true love, as the Bible defines love like this (you might recognize these!):
- Love is patient
- Love is kind
- It does not envy
- It does not boast
- It is not proud
- It does not dishonor others
- It is not self-seeking
- It is not easily angered
- It keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, hopes and always perseveres. Red flags are things that are out of alignment with this definition of love. Loving others from our overflow means that loving ourselves is a priority.
By loving ourselves first, we can establish boundaries and openly address situations that cross those boundaries or discuss any attempts to devalue us.
Whenever we are in situations that make us question love, here are some things we can do:
- Evaluate the situation objectively.
- Determine if the circumstance can be corrected.
- Revisit whether both people have the same values.
After this, we must make a decision based on the person’s actions — not based on their potential. And, if we consistently find these red flags popping up in our relationships, they may be flagging down something even more profound …
… by learning to love ourselves, we can walk in value, and in return, wholly love others, no longer ignoring the red flags. It’s the healthy way to love — and God’s best kind of love for you!
At a very young age, Duquesa knew that she wanted to be a world changer. She didn’t anticipate that her life would take the twists and turns that it did though. After navigating some challenging experiences early in life, Duquesa came into her purpose: to help young people transition through the various stages of young adulthood and to help women, men, boys and girls who’ve had traumatic experiences overcome limitations to live their best lives. She obtained her Human Resources Certification from Columbia Southern University, and is now an associate trainer with the International Board of Certified Trainers and a speaker with The John Maxwell Team. She is also the president of Transition Mentorship Program, a youth development program designed to help to build self-esteem, personal character, leadership and social skills in young people. She has authored two books: "Chase Your Dreams" and "Bruised But NOT Broken." Learn more at duquesadean.com.