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Red flags at the beach warn swimmers of severe hazards in the water.

(14) Pay Attention to Red Flags!

As highly sensitive people, we are gifted with a strong sense of intuition. This insight arises from our keen awareness of what’s going on around us and our ability to tap into the feelings and motivations of other people. We’re also highly attuned to our own feelings and responses. When something is “off,” we are quick to pick up on the discrepancy. Sometimes we may not even know why we register a red flag. The evidence may be a subtle facial expression that doesn’t match a verbal communication.

Unfortunately, we sometimes choose to ignore our intuition. We may dismiss our concerns as illogical or because we want a situation to work out. For example, a person falls in love and then willfully ignores all the red flags that come up, regardless of how dire they are! When your desire for something is strong, you can trick yourself into believing just about anything! While I’m usually pretty good at following my intuition, I fell a bit short when I was selecting someone to move us halfway across the country.

As the closing date for our house in New Jersey approached, it was time to book a mover and empty out the place. Having fully renovated our house prior to sale, I dreaded having to find yet another contractor! Ugh! However, I knew it was important to take the time to find someone reliable. After all, we would be entrusting EVERYTHING WE OWN to the company we chose.

I began my search by asking around for recommendations. When that effort failed to produce results, I made phone calls to several moving companies. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any that I felt good about and who could also meet our time frame. I moved my search to the internet, reviewing movers in my area, along with any customer feedback I could find. I’m always a bit skeptical of information I find online, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. Although I was frustrated because there was no “obvious” choice, I eventually settled on a mover who seemed knowledgeable on the phone and had pretty good reviews online.

However, after making my decision, I started to have some concerns. They weren’t always quick to get back to me. I was not impressed with how they were quoting the job. It was important to me to have an accurate estimate, and it was hard to pin them down, especially at first. Every time I spoke to them, the price seemed to go up. Overall, I felt like they weren’t being all that thorough. All of these things were red flags, but I overlooked them because I REALLY WANTED things to work out. I couldn’t face the prospect of starting over and talking with more contractors, especially with everything else on my plate!

When moving day came, I had a queasy feeling. I felt like all those red flags were lurking beneath the surface, so I was on high alert. Right away, I was concerned about the size of the truck. It was smaller than expected and didn’t look like it would be big enough. When I raised this concern, the movers assured me that they would be able to fit everything in. I hoped they were right, but that queasy feeling only grew.

As the truck filled up, it eventually became clear that it wouldn’t hold all of our stuff! The movers acknowledged the problem and apologized, but they had no solutions to offer. I couldn’t believe this was happening! The closing was in just three days, and everything had to be out. What would we do now? We couldn’t put our things out on the street! I was furious! The movers didn’t properly estimate the job, and now they were acting like it was our problem rather than their responsibility. They said they would transport what they could fit on the truck and left us to deal with the “overflow.”

After my wife and I got past the shock and came to our senses, we knew that we had to come up with an alternate plan fast! Fortunately, we were able to find a storage unit on short notice, though it wasn’t big enough for everything. When our neighbors, Mike and Kathy, heard about our dilemma, they kindly offered space in their garage for the rest of the items. We were grateful for having wonderful neighbors, though we’d still have to figure out how to get these items to Missouri.

While my wife and I were relieved to have managed the immediate crisis, it took a long time for me to recover from the stress of it all. I can’t tell you how much I wished I had followed my gut feelings on these movers. The mind is a powerful thing, and I ignored evidence in order to believe what I wanted to believe. As terrible as this experience was, at least I can say it was a good reminder of how important it is to follow my intuition and to take red flags seriously…regardless of how inconvenient they may be!

Have you ever ignored red flags and suffered as a result? How did you handle it? Why did you choose NOT to listen to your intuition? On the flip side, have you ever followed your intuition and were richly rewarded? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

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The next post, (15) Staying Afloat When Times Are Tough, is about coping strategies and staying strong when everything seems to be falling apart.

About Cliff’s Big Move Series: In this series of blog posts, I chronicle a really “Big Move” that my wife and I made to move halfway across the country to be closer to our daughter. This was a HUGE change for us, as we had lived in our home in New Jersey for over 30 years! My mother had recently passed away, and our only daughter had moved to Missouri. It is my hope that this series will motivate you, as a highly sensitive person, to take on something that’s truly important to you. I tell the story sequentially in 23 posts, with each one numbered. It’s best to start at the beginning. You can access all the posts by clicking on the Cliff’s Big Move category in the sidebar.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Dhyana

    This is an important topic for sensitives. I think it’s the fact that we as sensitives are constantly doubting our own intuition and therefore discounting our own insights and subtle synchronicities meant to inform or guide us which leads to these types of situations. Like you, I’ve been paying closer attention to these signals of late, and validating them for myself, rather than brushing off a hunch — I’m taking the time to consider the information first. Then taking appropriate action. In just the past six months I’ve had 2 major incidences that 1st) showed me the hazards of ignoring my inner counsel and 2nd) saved me from significant loss and trauma. This isn’t something that comes naturally after a lifetime of failing to follow my own inner counsel (to keep other people happy), but I believe it’s something we can train ourselves to pay attention to a validate for ourselves.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Dhyana,

      Good for you for following your inner counsel. I love the way you phrased it!
      The biggest mistakes that I’ve made in my life was when I went against my intuition. Keeping people happy is only good when we make ourselves happy first. That’s something we all need to remember! Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Me

    Well. I am glad I did not ignore red flags with any men, but in this case I tended to think I found the “perfect” surrogate family. And My rational side says “no, there are a lot of unseen problems.” And the reality is I was not seeing the mother for who she really is because her sometimes kind daughter always stepped in. The father and mother do not speak English however, the father is a very good person; I knew this intuitively. The daughter takes after both. She can be kind and not nice. The mother has been doing things to me such as stealing a sock, a purse i bought in an indigenous country, and she burned a whole-3 holes in my sheet. But the father was “SO NICE” I wanted to believe that her fake facade of niceness to me was not just a facade but she has been resenting me the whole time. These are my landlords and I am so glad I figured out there is “NO perfect family” because I might have stayed longer and gotten more things destroyed and stolen. I did not IGNORE the red flags I paid attention and brought them to the attention of th edaughter with whom I dealt. I said “why is there a small cigarette hole in my sheet-it is MY sheet and I know it was not there when I moved in. She denied it and I really thought it wa her and her age-21 she is not a teenager but oh well maybe immature. But then i realized that the mother was always in the apartments and i began to think and know by other red flags thats it was her. I tend to be very hard on myself and immediately think I ignored those things when I didn’t because in the past as an abused child i pushed away red flags but i am hypervigilent to them now and i DID mention these things to the daughter immediately. The problem is we are now on lock down and there is no other restaurant around for me to eat at and i don;t cook. There is no transportation. I don;t want to eat at her restaurant anymore so I am going to scope out others in the neighborhood and keep my distanc ei am moving in 9 days so it is OK. I told the daughter today I do not want anyone entering my apartment when I am not here. You know I travel and am a minimalist so I have very few things. In know the state of all of my things obviously. What I have realized is that when I went to their home to use the internet when th e power was out a full day, the grandmother was NOT a nice person and I know well that the dysfunction is cyclical. It is OK that I wanted to believe i found a normal family and I did not ignore the red flags. I as a highly sensitive being am exquisitely determined to not allow others to take advantage so I am always questioning if i ignored something as i did in the past. Which of course i didn’t because I am always thinking of me. I know that it is my job to take care of my precious self.

  3. Tatiana

    The mother was also talking about me to others in her native language. I know this because it is obvious and the first time she took someone into a store and I heard her say the country I am from . They were gossiping. I confronted her and she put a mask over her mouth trying to be funny and putting that false facade up again of nice and said she wouldn’t do it again but then she did it again this time right in front of me with the other woman who gossiped. So that is my whole story. I have many books i would like to publish so hopefully I will look around this site and see if you publish other’s work. I realize she is jealous just like my older sister that I am pretty and men notice me but I never look for men when I am travelling alone. I am keenly aware of the dangers.

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