I was talking with a dear friend this week and she was telling me about a budding relationship she is in. She made the comment that he was the first man she had dated that made her feel safe to be herself.
That comment struck me hard because in an instant I realized how important safety is in any strong relationship.
Today I want to talk about the importance of feeling safe to be yourself.
Do you feel safe being yourself and having an intimate conversation with someone, anyone?
I’m not talking about sharing your whole life story and all the gory details with anyone and everyone that will listen.
I’m talking about being able to share some of your important moments, thoughts, feelings, and desires with someone…someone special.
Because of the conversation I just mentioned, it dawned on me that I never felt safe in my marriage. There were certain subjects we just couldn’t talk about.
It got to the point where I wouldn’t share much of anything important with my ex because I didn’t want it to come back and haunt me weeks or months later.
Ladies, you all are rather good at being able to bring up conversations from the past and use them like a club to beat men over the head.
It’s how we’re wired.
The reason women are good at bringing up conversations from the past has a bit to do with biology. You see, women tie things to emotions. Men don’t. For men, once it’s over, we just pack that conversation up and store it away, usually never intending to unpack it again.
Don’t use his or her words to attack them later on.
I did an interview with a guy on the radio shortly before writing this piece today. He shared a very personal story about a situation he and his wife had to address.
He suffers from depression and will often self-sabotage his own success. One day his wife came to him after a relatively rough few days and asked this question.
“Can I share a negative observation with you?” She asked it in a loving way. She asked for his permission to share her particularly important observation on how he was sabotaging his own success.
She created a safe environment for them to talk and to share important information with each other. This was GREAT communication!
One of the greatest gifts you can give is the give of emotional safety within a relationship.
How do you do that? There are several ways this can be done and here are some ideas in no particular order of importance.
Don’t use past conversations to attack, berate, belittle, or generally put down the other person. If you have to remind them of past conversations, do it in a kind and loving way.
Let the other person be who they are without being critical of their every little action. If they’re being silly, let them be silly. If they’re being dramatic, let them be dramatic. It’s how they express themselves and it’s not up to you to change them.
Don’t put them down for mistakes they have made. We’ve all made mistakes! None of us are perfect. Recognize that and don’t be overly critical. If you do feel the need to critique someone’s actions, ask for their permission first.
Not every relationship is a good fit.
Not everyone can be your soul mate and don’t expect them to be. However, when you do find someone special, make sure you do your part to make a safe environment for great communication. You’ll be surprised at how much deeper your connection will be.
If you don’t feel safe to share special moments, thoughts, ideas, feelings, or needs, and are unable to work with your partner to correct this, it’s time to search for a better relationship.
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought to help you become a little better at communicating and recognizing the importance of having a special someone that makes you feel safe to be you.
Please feel free share your thoughts, your successes, and your missteps to help others get better one step at a time. Leave a comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.