Healthy love is glad to be told what a loved one needs, healthy love is eager to take part in the work of loving. Healthy love is excited to see a loved one confident and happy, and has no desire to be the source or arbiter of a loved one’s self-esteem or confidence - healthy love is happy to reassure and eager to compliment, but not to be the only source of positive regard in a loved one’s life. Healthy love is glad when others show a loved one care and respect, and wants loved ones to have lots of sources of positive regard.
Healthy love wants to see a loved one accept love with gladness and confidence, not shame and feelings of unworthiness. Healthy love wants the loved one to truly know deep down that they are worthy of love and care and respect, and to respond with reciprocation, not gratitude.
The people who love you in a healthy way do not need or want for you to make yourself as small as possible. They don’t want or need you to minimize your own needs and desires, they don’t need or want you to act like they’re doing you a giant favour by treating you with love and respect. The people who love you in a healthy way will be so glad if you accept their love as something you deserve. They won’t think you’re being selfish or self-centred or full of yourself if you accept love with reciprocation and not self-effacing gratitude - in fact, they will be glad!
Because healthy love wants to see YOU healthy and happy, and you aren’t either while you’re letting poisonous self-hatred fester in you. Whoever planted those seeds, you aren’t obligated to tend the plant yourself. You do not have to be a shrine to those who have treated you badly. You can tear out self-hatred wherever you find it, and the people who love you will not only agree you are entitled to do so, they will rejoice with you with each victory!
You deserve care and respect. The people who love you in a healthy way believe you deserve care and respect, and their belief doesn’t hinge on you cowering and acting self-effacing and denying your needs. Instead, their belief that you deserve care and respect means they don’t want you to act like you’re less than them, they don’t want you to constantly defer to their needs and desires, they want to be total equals! They want to just be asked for reassurance when you need it - people who love you in a healthy way don’t need to be manipulated into giving you bits of reassurance!
The people who love you in a healthy way do not need power over you in order to love you fully - they can love you even better the more you participate in the process of sharing your true self, what you actually need and want, who you actually are. Love is work that has to be tended together - that includes letting the people who love you do kindnesses for you instead of you always being the giver.
Healthy love is respect and care and reciprocity.
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my green flags <3
when they stretch first thing in the morning
cat or dog hair on clothes
their fav weather is rain/storms
people who lightly push you when laughing
lemonade + tea drinkers
when they leave a small patch of flowers for bees
when they see ‘look, cows!’
avid book readers
when they make playlists for you
fluffy hair that they constantly run their fingers through
texting multiple texts for a story
when they love elderly ppl
ppl who give waist hugs
ppl who encourage healthy habits
when they’re nice to service workers
ppl who enjoy english as their fav subject
believes in astrology/ ghosts/ spirits
good with kids
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when the book cover has the characters on it: 💳💥💍💥💳💥💍
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Green flag: he takes care of you without you asking directly. You're shivering? He offers his coat or gets up to close the window or asks if you're cold first. You say you're hungry? He asks where you wanna get some food from or offers to make some. If he pays for something when you're out, he doesn't make a deal of it, the same way any of your woman friends who decided to comp the bill wouldn't. He's not doing these things to win points, he's doing them because he genuinely enjoys caring for you, so he never holds it against you.
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green flags: picks up pretty rocks + feathers they find outside, listens to your favourite music to "get to know you better!", over - analyses movies with you at five am, little kids like them, always down for a hug no questions asked, poses with every cool tree they see, sings really badly but does it anyway because "life is too short to give a shit, bro."
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Everyone warns you about red flags in a relationship but I want to hear about green flags
So here's some. Add your own if you'd like!
* listens to you talk when you have issues and supports you through them
* stops doing things you tell them make you uncomfortable
* compromises when necessary
* never puts you down deliberately, especially not publically
* supports your ambitions
* uses a calm rational tone during arguments
* is able to apologise when they're in the wrong
* aids your growth process
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A healthy peer relationship doesn’t have fixed leader/follower roles.
In a nonabusive mentorship or child/parent relationship, it’s healthy and safe for one person to be consistently in the “leader” role. The person with more knowledge needs to be able to share their knowledge and to teach the other person how to make good decisions in this kind of relationship.
The person in the “follower” role should still have basic autonomy as much as humanly possible, but sometimes for safety etc., the person in the “leader” role has to make decisions for the less capable person, just because they understand things the other person doesn’t.
However, in a healthy peer friendship or dating/romantic relationship, everyone involved should be able and willing to both listen to the ideas of the other person(s), and to take the initiative to offer suggestions of their own. No one should ever have final say about another person’s body, other relationships, time, etc., only about their own boundaries surriounding their own time, relationships, body, etc.
When a pattern emerges where one person routinely makes the decisions for both/all, the relationship has become dysfunctional. A power imbalance emerges - sometimes one person is offloading the kinship work, home/body care, etc., onto the other person, and sometimes one person is taking control of things that the other person should be able to decide.
In the first case, the boring and tedious work of daily planning and decision making is passed on to just one person, which isn’t fair. In this situation, the person not making decisions still has final say in case they decide to be interested, but their expectation that the other person always has to make the arrangements for, say, meals or family events, isn’t fair and they should become more involved in decisions that are completely or partly their responsibility. Especially if they are expecting this work without reciprocation, there is an unhealthy dynamic at play.
In the second case, an abusive pattern may be emerging. One person likes making decisions for others, or is impatient when it takes others time to express their feelings, and therefore expects that the other person will let them always or usually have final say on things that affect both/all of them, or sometimes, even on the other person’s behaviour, like what the other person eats or how they dress. The more this power to decide becomes imbalanced, the more one person makes the decisions for another, the more dysfunctional the relationship gets. When personal autonomy is routinely overruled by one person who insists on making most of the decisions, abuse is occurring.
The key difference between an abusive relationship and a healthy one is that in a healthy relationship, everyone involved has personal autonomy. Each is able to say “no” to requests from the other(s) without disastrous consequences, and their needs, desires, and boundaries are respected and considered.
In a safe and healthy peer relationship, each person agrees with the other(s) on the fundamental nature of the relationship - such as whether or not it is sexual/romantic/monogamous/etc., or how often or in what situations you’ll spend time together. Regular, active and flexible participation in decision making should be the norm. Decisions that affect everyone in a peer group, couple or friendship, should be reached by consensus as often as possible, and when consensus can’t be reached, individual autonomy should always win - not presumed authority by one person in the relationship. Compromises should be fair - if one person always “wins”, or if the compromises violate personal autonomy, a dysfunctional pattern is occurring.
A healthy relationship is a team, with each person actively involved in the work of building and maintaining that relationship. This healthy team honours the unique and varied contributions of each member and doesn’t limit anyone to preset, inflexible roles that don’t allow for the full range of contributions - everyone listens, and everyone speaks. The relationship can flex and change over time as its nature is rediscussed and reinvented by people in changing circumstances and needs, and it’s valued enough that the team will try to make it work, but everyone is safe to leave if they decide their interests aren’t aligned anymore with the other person(s).
Some people treat dysfunction as exciting, or abuse as passion. Some people romanticise or sexualise unhealthy power dynamics. However, the foundation of real love is respect and a willingness to work to make each of your lives as happy as they can be. You deserve more than the “danger/excitement” of someone chipping away at your autonomy. And so do your friends and loved ones.
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Thursday Thoughts: Red Flags, Green Flags
I spend a lot of time looking for red flags. It’s an anxiety thing. There’s a part of my brain devoted to overanalyzing everything that someone says to me or does to me, ready to interpret any little behavioral shift in the worst possible way.
Of course, there’s another part of my brain that’s devoted to believing the best in people. The loyal, optimistic part of my brain. Those two parts of my brain argue a lot. But I cannot completely stop the hunt for red flags, because I believe it would be foolish to stop looking for them.
Keeping an eye out for red flags is an objectively good thing. At least, we value it as a society. There are countless articles that list red flags to look out for in friends, coworkers, and romantic partners, to let you know you should cut things off before you get hurt. The goal, it seems, is to surround yourself with people who don’t have any red flags, so you need to keep an eye out for those tricky little scarlet banners.
And when someone does hurts us, we look back and count all the signs we missed. We scold ourselves for failing to notice the red flags. There’s a reason that quote from Bojack Horseman about red flags keeps crossing my social media feeds – “When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.” We can all relate to the experience and to the sense of regret involved.
I’ve never put much thought into how much I look for red flags. It just is what it is – a sad necessity. But the other day, I saw an image shared on Facebook (and I believe this tweet is the source) which got me thinking.
The image is of a list of “green flags” – “traits of a positive and healthy relationship.”
Affection. Takes an interest in your interests. Friendship. Positive and supportive about you even when you are not. Sense of humor – laughs at self. Willingness to share financially. Share on all levels.
Being vulnerable. Being a listener. Having a fun or childish side. Enjoying similar things. Enjoying each other’s company. Having individual interests. Supportive of personal growth – not feeling threatened by it. Accepting past without judgment. Not comparing you to others.
Respect for privacy. Respect for job. Respect for children. Know that they are not the center of your universe. Maturity. Sense of perspective (not over-reacting). Confidence in self. Fits in – makes an effort to get to know friends and family).
Respects individuality. Admits mistakes. Takes responsibility for own needs. Shares household chores. Enjoys solitude. Willing to cope with ups and downs.
I swear I felt the lightbulb going off over my head as I read this list. If “red flags” exist and can be looked for, then why not “green flags,” too? It’s such a simple concept, I’m surprised it never occurred to me. Have I spent so much time looking for ways that people might be bad for me that I forgot to look for ways in which they might be good for me? Have we all been so worried about red flags that we forgot to look for green flags?
Sure, we can’t afford to ignore red flags. But frankly, I hate how much I look for red flags. It’s no fun at all. If I don’t see any red flags, then my anxiety tells me that they’re there and I just haven’t found them yet. And I’m always worried about what happens if I do find red flags. I don’t look forward to the discovery that someone I care about is bad for me. I dread it!
But looking for green flags – now that’s a different story! What happens if I find a green flag? Then I have something to be happy about. I like noticing that the people I care about listen to me, support me, and respect my privacy.
And what happens if I don’t find green flags? Well, it doesn’t mean I’m being hurt, but it does mean that I deserve better. So, I can ask for better, or I can go find it somewhere else.
Yes, it’s important to notice red flags when they exist. But it’s also important to give other people the chance to show you their green flags. It’s important to notice when things are GOOD, and not just hope for an absence of bad things.
Absence of bad is not “good.” It’s neutral. I deserve good. We all do.
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Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Green Flags in Relationships
Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Green Flags in Relationships
Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
In relationships, red flags are signs that the person probably can’t have a healthy relationship and proceeding down the road together would be emotionally dangerous.Dr Wendy Walsh in 10 Red Flags in Relationships
It can be fairly easy to recognize red flags. However, many of us ignore or explain those red flags away; especially in…
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Saw this once can't remember where probably tumblr but I want to share this bcs its important! If your relationship lacks these things it's a red flag and it's unhealthy.
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Green flag: when you cry with him, he makes you feel held, comforted, cared for, he's your safe space. He doesn't make you feel like a burden, he doesn't act like he's doing you a favor, all he's thinking is that you're someone he cares about who needs comfort, and he's doing his best to provide that.
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Hey my ex didn't do these, just the red flags heh
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this is so important. we are always talking about red flags, which are important, but what about green flags? I love it!
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