Embrace The Red Line & You May Shine

Ah, lush, robust red, what does that color evoke? Let’s start with the positive. First, red takes center stage with its primary siblings, blue and yellow. Next, the big color holds court among the royals, and according to Google Arts and Culture, it’s the first color humans perceive after black and white.

Google also reports red is the color babies see before others, and if someone suffers from temporary color blindness, red comes through loud and clear.

Yes, red dominates, and I believe it’s a glorious color. When you capture the sight of a majestic male cardinal, scarlet poppy, or a stunning red rose, just a few examples, how can anyone disagree?

Red also symbolizes ominous possibilities, warnings. A red light or stop sign reminds you of the danger that may encapsulate you by ignoring the red signal. An injury displays red, and the redder, the more problematic, even deadly. Yes, when red splashes across the page from a red marker or red line, daggers dig deep into our being, creating a gaping wound.

Those of us traditionally published understand another meaning of the red line, as do editors prescribing the lines.

The receiver, a writer, must determine how to manage a dominant amount of red, sometimes more than expected.

Do they allow the spread of red, so bright and scarlet, to prevent the remedy because of a narcissistic injury?

Many people choose to ignore red, rationalizing the editor must’ve misunderstood their message.

The answer?

Ignore their recommendations and find another.

What happens if the emotional injury is experienced as fatal?

An individual may crumble the paper into a ball or delete their document, yelling, forget it!

Creativity is personal, and many people feel vulnerable, deciding to surrender and avoid further perceived humiliation and rejection. They can’t comprehend the medicinal properties offered by red lines, helping elevate from mediocre to good or good to better, maybe great.

We live in an era where everyone-deserves-a-trophy mentality prevails.

Certain parents exhibit outrage if they perceive their child received a grade or a red mark they didn’t deserve. Others express umbrage if their child is bypassed for something unearned.

These equate to red lines, reminders that winning requires diligence and the recognition that trophies are undeserved for simply showing up.

What a disservice to children and adults alike!

All of us must learn to navigate the challenging red lines. The earlier, the better, but it’s never too late to learn. Those who’ve never been challenged at a young age because early gifts catapulted them to immediate success often fall short of developing greater resilience.

Several years ago, I read about a city outside of Boston where children expressed devastation about rejection from their college choice.

I’ll never forget the writer expressing their belief this was the child’s first major defeat in life.

Boo-you-know-what-hoo! You understand disappointment but devastation?

Welcome to the topsy-turvy journey called life!

Long ago, a young woman shared with me a story about her sibling whose athletic gifts promised him a place in a major sports league. That dream was ruined by an injury. She believed her brother never recovered from the loss of this feat.

Here, you might understand devastation, but should it color his view for the rest of his life? Yes, that red line created a wound, one deep inside. I don’t know what happened to the young adult. Hopefully, he reconciled this loss, with red subsiding toward healing, recognizing even scars eventually shrink.

Over the years, I’ve encountered talented people who never reached the crowning glory of their professional pursuits but discovered ways to circumvent the red line by taking another path.

Right now, I’ve been provided red lines in a project I’m creating. With dogged determination, I’ll work diligently to decrease the red spread, hoping to see black and white all over. As stated in another article, I’ll keep going, listening to amazing people inspiring me to remain steadfast.

Good luck if one thinks they can trick fate and avoid the red lines. Life’s feckless behavior reminds us it’s unavoidable, and I believe a few thin red ones should be endured by everyone.


It builds character, resilience, and tenacity, teaching us about the reality of life. If one always abdicates rather than problem-solve when facing a red line, they’ll never know.

Know what?

I’ll let the great Napoleon Hill answer the question:

Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.

Although life doesn’t offer guarantees, why not try? Embrace the red line, and just maybe you’ll soon shine!

Your thoughts? I invite you to share.


Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. For over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary professional role has been as a Therapist, but now she includes Author and Writer. In 2011, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper and hasn’t stopped. Many of her blogs can also be found on Sixty and Me, Medium, and Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, Stop Depriving The World of You, traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Throughout her career, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book. As a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene’s first novel, Visible Forever, will be published in the spring of 2024 by WordCrafts Press.

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  1. Bravo, Darlene! I had a teacher in ninth grade who gave me some “red lines” I didn’t feel I deserved. When I asked him to explain, he told me I earned them by not working up to my potential (and he was correct). The talk we had helped me to choose a better way of being and I am forever thankful for his guidance. It has served me well throughout my long life. Thank you for your post.

    • Hi Julie,
      Thank you so much for reading and offering kind words. Yes, red lines invite us to explore better ways to improve. If we embrace diligence, the redness will decrease making way for who knows?
      Cheers to your teacher and all of our teachers who push us toward being the best we can be. Thank you again!