Discovering Your Emotionally Safe People and Why it Matters

Who are the emotionally safe people in your life? Who can you share anything with (or most things with) and know that your thoughts and feelings are safe with that person? Today, we’re going to be exploring what a safe relationship feels like to you, and we’re going to talk about why that’s important especially if you’re healing a relationship. I’ll share my own experiences so you can understand and hopefully relate! I am talking about my friend, Susan, in this example. I also have a wonderful relationship with my husband, Trä, and I’m sure I’ll talk more about that later.

 

Begin with these questions as you think about different relationships in your life:

Do you have a partner you can share anything with?

Do you have a best friend who can really listen and hear what’s happening in your life?

Maybe you have a close relationship sister or your brother.

Maybe your grandmother or your own mother is the place you can go when you’ve had a hard day.

Maybe it’s a therapist who seems to get you.

Who is your person? Who are your safe people?

My bestie, Susan, after we’d just spent a long time hanging in the car talking about life.

My best friend, Susan, and I have known each other since I first moved to the west coast of Florida when my youngest (who is now 18) was 2. Her youngest was also 2 at the time and she was leading a La Leche League meeting. When her 2.5 year old jumped off something onto her back while she was leading and she responded in a firm but gentle way, something happened and we bonded instantly. We’ve been friends long enough to see our kids grow up, through a ridiculous number of house moves (me, including to another country), we both went through a divorce and were layers of support for one another during that time. When I met my now husband, Trä, she was right there as I navigated all that was happening. She has been a huge support for me in my life and I’m so grateful for this connection.

Do you have someone in mind in your own life?

What makes this person emotionally safe for you?

Is this person a good listener?

Does this person seem to understand you and what you’re sharing?

Is there a level of ease being with this person?

Are you able to truly be yourself without censoring yourself?

What else do you think about when you think about this safe person?

How does it feel in your body to be with this person?

Just pause for a moment and consider the answers before you move on to the next part.

Learning to knit again
Barbie scarf take 6! Thanks for the knitting lessons, Susan!

For my relationship with Susan, I can say that she is a great listener. She asks good questions and I always feel like she gets what’s happening for me. She also loves the same foods as I do (Thai, anyone?), enjoys music and singing, and we can joke around. I can totally be myself with her. One time she taught me to knit. I made so many mistakes and we just laughed. I finally even made a Barbie scarf (I have no girls and I have no Barbies, but that’s not the point…). I had a lot of other rough relationship experiences happening around the same time and I could share everything that was happening and all my feelings with Susan. I feel calm and relaxed around her in my body, but I can also feel angry, sad, scared, confused, and whatever else I am experiencing with her and that makes it feel so safe for me.  She’s still someone I call when I want to talk something out or just laugh!

Barbie scarf in process…Wow! lol

As you think about your relationship, let’s be realistic. Are there challenges?

Are there times when you don’t feel safe with this person?

Are there situations or thoughts that you don’t bring up with this person because it doesn’t feel good?

Just notice if anything comes up about that for you. (And it’s ok if nothing comes up! If nothing comes up, you are very blessed to have this relationship!)

Book writing cruise. At least she got to do Karaoke the last night!

For my relationship with my friend, Susan, in the beginning I had a very hard time bringing up and being with my own feelings. That actually wasn’t about her. She was totally fine with all of my feelings and had done a lot of work on herself.  We actually talked a lot about this and consciously worked on creating spaces where I could express my feelings with her. I feel very blessed to have this friendship! This picture was from 2009 when we went on a book writing cruise. I needed to work on my book and she came to help. She didn’t know we would do so much work actually on the book during the cruise, but we did do some fun things including Karaoke on the last night. She let me know how important that was to her, so we went and it was fun!

Back to your relationship…

Very few of our relationships are safe in every aspect, so don’t panic if you thought of some situations that are harder. When we have someone in our life who is generally safe for us, those spaces that don’t feel 100% safe can be our growing edges. We all have them and we all need people who can help us grow in those ways.

As one of my clients said in a session last week, “I need to remember that I am an imperfect human in relationship with another imperfect human.”

Yup. These are the relationships that are safe enough, where there is room to say, “Something is coming up for me when you said that. Can we talk about it?”

Our strongest relationships aren’t perfect.

Our best relationships actually aren’t ones that are perfect, where we never have conflict, or feelings. Our strongest relationships are the ones where we have feelings and misunderstandings and misattunements (thinking we get it when we really didn’t), and there is repair. When we say, “I didn’t get what you meant but I can see now how my response might have made you feel.”

Our strongest relationships are the ones where we reconnect when something doesn’t feel good, rather than avoiding the topic, pretending it didn’t happen. If you grew up in a family where uncomfortable topics were avoided, you might find yourself doing that in your adult relationships, too. And your growing edge may be to explore how you learned to keep yourself safe when you were younger and decide consciously what you’d like to do now in your present life in your relationships with other people who are important to you.

This month, we’re going to be exploring friendships, partnerships, and supportive relationships for us as adults.
When we have those layers of support for ourselves, we can be more resourced for those relationships that may be more of a challenge for us. Maybe you have a more challenging relationship with your child. Or maybe your relationship with your partner needs some healing. When you have some other safe places, you can get support to be more resourced to do that healing work together.

In case you’ve missed it, we offer weekly fr*ee Community Healing Story Circles. These are spaces created to be safe enough to co-regulate with one another, even when someone is going through something difficult.

The reason I started offering these spaces is because we all, as humans, need spaces that are safe enough to share and be heard. We all need to find our own voice in whatever is happening in our world. And when we realized the pandemic wasn’t ending any time soon back in the summer of 2020, we began offering these layers of support to anyone and everyone who needs a safe enough listening space right now.

As the pandemic (hopefully) is winding down, we are continuing these spaces for support for the myriad of reasons that humans, however imperfect we may be, quest for healing their relationships. We are changing the world with this radical act of listening to one another and creating safe enough spaces where we can lean into each other to find our own way when things are tough.

 Did you know we also offer Healing Story Circles in Spanish? ¿Buscas apoyo en español? Realizamos un círculo gratuito el último lunes de cada mes abierto a la comunidad latina. Si quieres más información, suscríbete a nuestro boletín en español para recibir noticias y conectarte con nosotros. Regístrate aquí para español

This month, we’re going to be exploring emotionally safe relationships and spaces, and I’ll be sharing some tools with you to support creating some of these spaces with people who are “safe enough” in your own life right now. So, stay tuned this month for more!

Did you come up with a relationship that feels safe to you? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

  • Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

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