Thursday, December 06, 2007

Emotional Safety

Emotional safety is something you need to strive for in yourself and look for in another person. Specifically, individuals who love themselves and work at becoming whole have reached a point where emotional safety is a natural part of who they are. It’s a two-way street of openness, vulnerability and acceptance reflected in a combination of words, body language and attitudes.

Meeting the criteria for being in an emotionally safe relationship can be defined by the following qualities in both partners:

• Respecting and setting limits and boundaries

• Telling the truth consistently and compassionately

• Not becoming enmeshed or co-dependent

• Not using anything you reveal - information, fears or vulnerabilities -against you

• Feeling you can be open and not having to protect yourself

• Not being judgmental and blaming

• Sharing fears, insecurities, flaws and weaknesses

The key to emotional safety is the ability to connect with another through the heart. This connection presupposes that each individual has done some inner work and is able to accept themselves and others without judgment. It is this work that is vital to the individual and totally supports the relationship.

In truth, we can’t be emotionally safe all the time, even with the most loving partner. There will be breakdowns in any relationship. People who love each other may hurt each other unintentionally. As much as we may love someone, we can never anticipate another person’s needs. No one can read your mind, no matter how intimate and loving they are. We need to communicate honestly when someone has hurt us. Then we need to forgive ourselves and another and learn from the experience and move on.

The key to emotional safety is authenticity. Honest and authentic communication is critical to developing and maintaining healthy relationships. You must be open to hear feedback, both positive and negative, acknowledging that another’s perspective might be different from yours. This openness is the path towards becoming more emotionally safe and finding others who are emotionally safe for you. We can’t stress this enough.

BE AUTHENTIC in all your relationships and communications with other people. DON’T JUDGE OTHERS. BE OPEN TO FEEDBACK. COMMUNICATE. The ability to say no connects you with your own authentic power so you only do things that support you. Be honest and open and connect to others through your heart. And finally, be committed to only choosing relationships that are emotionally safe.

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