Boundaries and Red Flags
When you are beginning to explore your boundaries, you may start noticing how others react to them. These reactions could be considered red flags. It’s important to pay attention to your boundaries and red flags that come up.
When a red flag comes up, it is usually a feeling that we have. It can start with alarm, a feeling of uncertainty, mistrust, sadness, anger, or any negative feeling that just feels “off”.
Take Space When You Notice a Red Flag
When you notice a red flag it is because this person is triggering a response in you. Take some time and reflect as to why you are feeling this negative feeling.
Is it because you are being asked to do something that you cannot even control? Are you overwhelmed?
Will the choice that you are being asked to make slow down your progress in your self love journey?
It is better to approach a situation slowly, with a lot of reflection and love for yourself, rather than walk into a situation where you are feeling manipulated.
When you feel a red flag, the first thing you have permission to do is step away and process that feeling. This is a boundary on its own, the right to take time to understand what you need.
A red flag doesn’t always mean that you have run away from someone. Just take space and evaluate if there are a lot of red flags and decide if it is time to communicate with the other person.
When Have You Ignored a Red Flag?
If you are wondering how to explore this for yourself, begin by reflecting on situations where you felt manipulated, you got angry and in a fight with someone, or you might have ended a friendship.
Now, think back on the beginning of that relationship or situation and decide when you might have ignored some warning signs. Write down some of the things you might have not set a limit on.
This is not an exercise in “beating yourself up.” Actually, this is a way to see your red flag patterns. You are brining your awareness to things you might dismiss.
In example in my life occurred with a friend who wanted me to support them in a difficult work situation. I noticed that I was unsure about supporting this person in a work meeting, but ignored my red flag. I went into this meeting having my friend’s back without investigating the situation first. I stood firm with my friend and believed their victim story.
Later, I found out that my friend had not been fully honest with me and had caused a lot of problems behind the scene. They continued to manipulate me until I over-reacted in the situation. When I looked back, I realized I had plenty of red flags that I should have paid attention to.
If I had taken time to listen to myself, established a loving boundary, and allowed my friend to go through something that might have been hard, they may have grown and I would not have felt manipulated by them.
A good boundary would have been good for them and me.
Time to Communicate
After taking time to reflect, it is time to communicate your boundaries. There are many different ways to do this. If this part gets you nervous, take a look at our article here.
You do not necessarily have to end your relationship with someone, communicating is a skill that we are losing.