Ignoring Red Flags

There is something to say about intuition. I think every human being has it, some are more in tune to it than others, but I truly believe that when encountering a bad situation or even a not-so-great person, our intuition tries to tell us. It's like our soul foreshadows the future and is bracing itself for the pain that will come. Intuition is a survival mechanism that we all have.

I have been in two different situations where I have flat out ignored the red flags. And they weren't just waving in front of me either. They were beating over the head shouting, "DANGER, DANGER, GET OUT NOW!" I think there was also a police man frantically trying to direct me into another direction as I drove past, battered and bruised from being hit with the red flags. Of course I am speaking metaphorically here, but the warning signs were so obvious. Literally I remember thinking, "This isn't good. What am I doing?" And I shushed that little voice as fast as I could. The first time after months of the voice speaking to me I finally listened and took action, but the second time it happened was when I really felt kind of stupid.

I always love to learn from the mistakes that I have made and Lord knows, I have made my fair share of them. I add it to the list of lessons, pat myself on the back, move on and tell myself I won't make that same mistake again. But the second time I was seeing these red flags wizz by, I ignored them. Denial is a powerful thing, isn't it? What I learned from that situation was this: The more vulnerable I was in a situation (for example, recently getting your heart broken, losing a job, etc) the more likely I was to ignore the warning signs. You would think it would be the opposite, that I would have been more guarded. But for me, it was like I couldn't stand the thought of being hurt again or being in another bad situation, so if I ignored it maybe it would all just go away. Right?

For the most part, we make decisions based on safety and fear. In some cases, people may may ignore their intuition because they think where they are is safe, where as it may be that they are just comfortable. In my case, I ignored my intuition because I was afraid of another failed relationship. At that particular point in my life I would rather have a bad relationship than no relationship. Come to think of it, I actually thought I was comfortable because I had become so accustomed to being in a codependant relationship, I didn't know what a functional, healthy one looked like.

Thankfully, it only took twice for me to really understand we are our own best friend. And if you do choose to ignore the red flags, look at it like this: Would you not tell your best friend something that you knew would obviously hurt them? I would venture to guess that you would tell them, so think of your intuition warning you is like your best friend whispering in your ear because they care about you.


I was listening to a radio show this morning and the DJ's were discussing multitasking. They were talking about their jobs and parenting and how some people are constantly just going going going, always having several things they are doing or going to do at once, never slowing down. Various people were calling in telling their story of all the things they do, like one woman woke up at 4:30 am and instead of just enjoying a quiet morning to herself, she couldn't stand the thought of doing nothing so she went to the grocery store.

It got me thinking about people that can't slow down, perhaps because I struggle with this myself. I think the adrenaline that goes along with stress and too many commitments is like a drug. It becomes an addiction that you just can't stop. You feed on it, and when life slows down, there is a sense of urgency, a need to have more to do. I also think it's a matter of control. There are so many things we can't control in our lives, the more things we can control, the better we feel.

I have struggled for years with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It's a disorder that can cause any stressful situation, however minor, to turn into a full blown panic attack, or if you're lucky, just irrational thinking. The way I describe it is that I will have a stressful thought or worry, then 3 minutes later I am planning my own funeral in my head because I am sure that all of this is going to wind up in some disaster. Thankfully, now those thoughts are few and far between, and I have learned to slow down and try to get peace in my life, and in my mind. Some questions I ask myself when I start to get stressed are:

"What is the worst case scenario if I can't get this done?"
"Will someone be hurt if I can't get this done?"
"If I don't do this am I being lazy, or just nice to myself?"
"What do I need to do to make this easier on myself?"
"Is this really worth stressing over?"

Usually this helps and I can either better organize my thoughts and/or tasks and just slow down.