As Brene Brown says, be vulnerable, but with SAFE people. Vulnerability is a skill and a strength, but if you are vulnerable with the wrong people – people who do not take your values, wishes, and viewpoints into consideration – then you are destined to get hurt. (Okay, let’s be legit: you’ll get hurt anyway, even by safe people – the issue is whether or not you can recover from that. Hurt is a part of the human experience. Welcome.)
Who are your safe people? Who is your tribe? These are people whom you know you can spill your guts to, who will not judge you nor condemn your behavior. These are people who trust that, even at your worst, you mean your best. These are people that see the gold that you are, even if your actions are less than bronze. And these are also the people that will remind us and give us slight nudges in the opposite direction, if we have gotten our actions off track with our internal value system.
We’d like to think, of course, that our “safe people” tribe is huge. Most of us, however, probably have a handful of safe people in our lives. A close friend or a family member, or a spouse.
But don’t get confused. Just because someone is “supposed’ to be safe, doesn’t meant that they ARE safe. Here’s a checklist you can run through to determine if someone is safe:
- When I come to this person in pain, do they accept my feelings without trying to change it?
- Is this person able to sit with me in my discomfort, or do they try to distract me and themselves from the pain I am experiencing?
- Is this person able to hear and validate me, not only when I am upset with someone else, but when I am upset with them?
- Does this person respect and value my feelings? (Note: this does not necessarily mean adapting and changing behavior to suit your preferences; this is simply having respect for them.)
- Does this person have their own boundaries, and is willing and able to tell me if they are not able to hear me for some reason?
- Does this person know themselves well enough to know their limits, their emotions, their pain, so they don’t unnecessarily project them onto me or others? Are they willing and able to communicate this when necessary?
- Am I a safe person for them, just as they are for me?
Your task this week is to identify your safe tribe. Tell them you appreciate them. Recognize and value those in your life that have meaning, and do not take them for granted. And, keep owning your shit, doing your work, and being a safe person for them, too.
Remember: a safe person doesn’t mean a doormat. A safe person is someone who knows themselves well enough to hold space for you when you need it, without judgment, condemnation, or taking it personally.
Tell me about your safe people. I’m interested. Comment here, use #bewildandunabashed on social media, or communicate via ESP – I pick up signals.