Safety is the fertile soil in which a relationship grows and thrives. It is what allows partners to develop and share deep joy and fulfillment with each other. In safety, each person feels fully accepted as they are right now.
A sign of safety in a relationship is that both partners can express their real feelings – what they truly want and need. They can share their fears, pains, and dark secrets – and trust that they will receive support from each other in doing so. They can let all their hopes, desires, and wildest dreams freely come out, knowing they will be heard and respected.
To many, such safety may sound like a dream. What makes it seem this way? For one thing, most of us learn as children that we are not free to simply express our feelings, needs, wants, and hopes. We may even learn that we have to suppress them. Few of us were taught to be open and direct – to share what we really think and feel – without fear of judgment.
It is crucial for us to create this sense of safety with each other in relating today. By creating safety, we can finally open the inner doors of our hearts, opening ourselves to healthy, alive, and loving interactions. In safety, we can be truly present and available to each other. We can finally come to realize our authentic loving nature.
Creating safety isn’t simple or easy. It takes the courage to question old prohibitions and to face old fears, to look the “dragon” in the eye and deal with things you usually suppress or reject. It requires the courage to take risks and share with a partner what you really want, need, or feel – and to listen with an open heart to whatever your partner shares in return. Safety requires two partners, each willing to do whatever it takes to create it in their lives together. It takes partners who will boldly face all the challenges that come up.
A key to safety is acceptance. Acceptance allows space for all things to just be exactly as they are now. In traveling any path, you must be willing to step on the ground immediately under your feet before you can continue onward. Once you accept things as they are now rather than wishing they were different, you can move forward.
What do you need to feel safe in your relationship? The card SAFETY invites you to discuss with your partner whatever you need to feel safe. Here are possible agreements you might reach: that shared things will stay confidential; that you won’t use such things against each other; that you’ll learn to simply witness each other and avoid judgments; and that you intend to accept and heal all things – even if you don’t yet know how. Discuss ultimate safety, where all feelings can be felt, all stories can be heard, all needs can be voiced.
Agree to start wherever you are now. Safety proceeds one step at a time. Share only what you feel safe to share. Agree on ways to handle things that you are not yet ready to deal with. Come up with ways to stop yourselves from falling into poor communication patterns. Be gentle. Be patient. Know that it takes some time to fully develop – and trust – safety. The time is well spent, however, for it will ultimately lead you toward sharing true happiness and fulfillment together.
If your relationship is suffering and you wish you had a really powerful way to quickly transform it, consider attending one of my intensive marriage retreats.
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