Life can easily throw us off balance. Maybe we hold on to thoughts that make us anxious, or we are unsure about others, or they feel toxic to us. So do you create a solid emotional foundation to rely on with the bumps and bruises of life occur in your life?
What is the difference between feeling safe and being safe?
- Being safe is free from harm, and you feel secure from the threat of danger. Make sure you create a safe environment, be wise about protecting yourself best, ensure your relationships are safe, and know areas where you could be unsafe.
- Feeling safe is an emotional reaction to being with people or places that provide you with either a feeling of safety or unsafe.
Areas that potentially create unsafe feelings
- In a relationship, you can feel emotionally unsafe when you are disconnected from the other person, unsure what they will do or say; tension, defensiveness, and distrust exist. You may feel vulnerable with the person and unable to speak your truth.
- Vulnerability – in a strong relationship, there is vulnerability as each person shares who they are. Does the person respect you?
- Your need to hide – you may feel unsafe in a relationship because you have difficulty sharing your feelings. You feel the need to protect yourself. It’s good to question whether you are unsafe with the person or need to hide.
- Do you feel you can share your thoughts and feelings with others in your workplace? Is your manager open to your perspective on the work environment?
- Given that work provides an income, and in the US, most companies are “at will, ” meaning they don’t have to have a major reason to terminate you, there is an embedded level of unsafety.
- Given the “at will” status, how do you create emotional safety within your current company? You can’t feed the anxiety, yet you need to feel comfortable speaking up, making recommendations, and enjoying friendships in the workplace.
- Companies realize that employees who have work they enjoy, feel they are contributing to the company’s success, and forge friendships, tend to stay. Do you think this is your workplace?
Ways to create emotional safety in your relationships
We all don’t need the same thing to feel safe, though we all need to feel safe in our relationships.
- Be clear about your boundaries and honor the other person’s boundaries. When we feel respected, we tend to feel safe.
- Check in to see if you are valued and can be yourself in all your relationships.
- There is give and take in a safe relationship. Feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and being an active listener to others. Safety is important to you in a relationship and essential to the other person. We all want to be seen, heard, and feel understood.
- Don’t take anything personally until you check in with the person. Many times we interpret another person’s behavior as a message to us, or we are judging them. People often act from their perspective (including you), which may have nothing to do with you. Check in, and don’t assume you know. When you do this, you respect yourself and the other person, creating a safe place for people to be themselves.
- Take a risk. If you are the type of person who needs to hide your feelings, you may not feel safe in a relationship as you don’t trust the person with your feelings. Take a risk, choose to share something personal, and see how it goes. It doesn’t have to be a significant experience but something simple to start building your “trust muscles.” If the other person doesn’t respond as you think, you should check in to see what they think. Maybe they are busy with their challenges and don’t listen clearly. None of us are perfect.
- Feeling safe in a relationship is vital to our well-being. Explore your reactions to different relationships, and ask if there is a way to enhance your safety with the person. If you don’t feel safe, then either limit or let go of the relationship.
Have you stepped back and reviewed your comfort level with your relationships and work? Do you feel safe within them? If not, why? If our gut, or intuition, tells us something is wrong with a relationship, do your inner work to understand what you are feeling. We build safety in relationships by becoming aware of what works and doesn’t work for us.
Women’s group topics
What do women need in a relationship – personal or work? This topic allows you to explore your feelings about what you need in your relationships. A strong women’s group creates space for women in the group to feel safe to share their thoughts. I’ve learned from others in my group. The perspectives they shared have either supported my thinking or provided me with another way to see a relationship.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we must stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
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